Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More cone snail excitement

Careful readers know that I am a big fan of both cowrie shells and the math abilities of cone snails.

Thus you can understand my obvious dismay about a cowrie killing tapeworm described in a recent Science News article. The tapeworm wraps itself around the cowrie shell, poisons it with a deadly neurotoxin, and then slurps up the contents. The discoverer of this behavior found it by accident when he placed a cowrie shell in with the flatworm while collecting specimens. When he looked in later, there was a fat flatworm and no cowrie in the shell, oops.

Science, in their NetWatch section, points Conusophiles to the Burke Museum site with information about the 3000 or so catalogued Conus species. Someone loves these little mollusks. Here is an example of the many type specimen pictures chosen, of course, for its name. (Conus richardbinghami) Go and pick your favorite.

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