Name: Cone Snail (Conus purpurascens)
Found in: Mid-Pacific Region
The Venom: Cone snails may move slowly but their venom acts fast. A barbed “harpoon,” a modified mouthpart known as a radula, is the cone snail’s secret weapon. The harpoon shoots out quickly, delivering a dose of venom to unsuspecting prey. The venom paralyzes the victim by interrupting nerve transmission to the muscles.
Poison Plus: Used medicinally, the cone snail toxins block pain signals from reaching the brain, yielding pain relievers more powerful than morphine. These toxins are also being studied to develop potential medicines for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Learn more about cone snails in this video.
Image © Alex Kerstitch/ ASDM Sonoran Desert Digital Library