Cone shell

Mollusca – Gastropoda


Cones live under rocks or coral boulders, and many species bury themselves in the sand with just their siphons extended like snorkels. The water sucked in through their siphon carries oxygen as well as the odour of prey, such as another mollusc, worm or a small fish. The cones can then rapidly harpoon their prey using a hollow, barbed tooth loaded with venom. Once the prey is paralysed it is usually swallowed whole.

Cone shell - beach

Did you know?

Although not all cones are dangerous to humans, it is best to treat them with caution. Mollusc and worm-eating cones can inflict a painful sting but the venom of fish-eating cones can cause a human to suffer breathing difficulties, paralysis or even death!