Family Conidae - cone shells

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  Class
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Gastropoda
  No. of Genera in Ref
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  No. of Species in Ref
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  Environment
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Fresh : No | Brackish : No | Marine : Yes
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  Remark
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Shell cone-shaped, with a moderately low, conical to flat spire and a well-developed body whorl tapering towards the narrow anterior end. Sculpture variable but generally reduced, sometimes tuberculate on shoulder. Periostracum thin to thick and fibrous, sometimes obscuring the external colour patterns. Aperture very long and narrow, with a small notch at the posterior end and a short, wide siphonal canal anteriorly. Outer lip thin and smooth, inner lip without callus and folds. Operculum corneous, quite small, ovate to claw-shaped and with a terminal nucleus, sometimes absent. Head with a produced tubular sheath covering the snout which is capable of considerable distension, and with eyes on small stalks near the extremities of the tentacles. Foot long and rather narrow, rounded or truncated anteriorly and obtusely pointed posteriorly. Fleshy siphon of the mantle well developed. Mostly reef-dwellers, living in clean or muddy-sand bottoms under rocks or corals, or in silty crevices. Most common in intertidal and shallow sublittoral zones, but also occurring deeper on the continental shelf and slope to a depth of about 600 m. Often partly or completely buried in the sediment, emerging when the tide turns or at night to search for food. Active predators, armed with sharp arrow-like teeth and a poisonous gland which secretes a powerful nerve toxin. Most species feed on marine worms, but others prey on molluscs or even on small fishes. Sexes separate, fertilization internal. Eggs laid in compressed corneous capsules attached in rows or groups by a flat basal disk. Females often gather for spawning. Planktonic larval stage of variable duration, rarely absent. The Conidae is favourite family of shell collectors, and the group is best represented in the tropical Indo-West Pacific, with a several hundred species. Cones are commercially important in the area and are actively collected for shell trade. Living cones must be handled with great care, for their bites may be painful or even occasionally fatal to humans. Due to temperature sensitivity of the venom, cones are however edible without danger after cooking. They are known to be locally used as food in the Indo-West Pacific (Ref. 349).
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Ref.
[ e.g. 9948]                       
Glossary
                    [ e.g. cephalopods]


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