Conus spurius

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Geographic Range

Florida and the Gulf of Mexico

Habitat

This species of cone is at home on coral reefs or shallow ocean bottom.

Physical Description

These cones reach 2-3 inches in length. They surface of the shell is smooth. Background color white, with numerous small orangish squares.

Reproduction

Cones are sexual reproducing animals. When mating, the female lays a group of eggs that are all attached in a thick kind of mucus. The male is positioned near her body and fertilizes the eggs as soon as they are exit her body. The fertilized eggs remain bonded together in the thick mucus layer until they hatch. Young are not tended by their parents.

Behavior

Conus spurius are solitary, with no social organization of any kind. The only interactions between individuals occur at mating.

Food Habits

This particular cone is a predator that feeds on anything from marine worms to sizable fish. It hunts by extending its proboscis," a muscular extension and retraction of the gut." When it touches prey, the proboscis launches a harpoon-like tooth that pierces the prey and injects deadly venom. The proboscis is then retracted, hauling the prey in. The venom is very deadly and some species of cones have reportedly caused human fatalities.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

These snails play a role in the food chain of the sea as predators.

Contributors

Matthew Sygo (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Atlantic Ocean

the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.

World Map

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

coastal

the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

reef

structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.

References

Abbott, R. T. 1954. American Seashells. D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc.

Brown, G. H. Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life. Chicago, 1974.

Mandel, S. "Mollusca" CD Rom, July-Dec. 1992.

Thompson. T.B. Biologyu of Opisthobranch Molluscs. London, 1974.