NatGeo :: Geographic Cone Snail (Conus geographus)

Geographic Cone Snails, Geographic Cone Snail Pictures, Geographic Cone Snail Facts – National Geographic.

Last night, my dad was watching something on the news about the Cone Snail and its venom. Being the nerd that I am, I figured, “Hey. I wonder what makes those little things so toxic. I could blog about that.”

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Mollusca
  • Class: Gastropoda
  • Superfamily: Conoidea
  • Family: Conidae
  • Subfamily: Coninae
  • Genus: Conus
  • Species: C. geographus

A very important factor of the venom of this roughly 6 inch long snail is the potency. If it had a lesser effect, the prey would swim away and die elsewhere, taxing the snail with the cost of making the venom and getting no reward. An instant paralyzing effect is key. The venom itself is comprised of hundreds of different toxins. The delivery method is a harpoonlike tooth on the snail’s extendable proboscis.

Several humans have falled victim to the cone snail’s complex cocktail. If you every have the misfortune of being “harpooned” by this small creature, your best hope is fighting to stay alive until the toxins wear off. No anti-venom exists.

Within the venom of the cone snail are proteins that could very well pave the way to a new class of analgesics (pain killers). Specific human pain receptors are targeted by some of these proteins. They can be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine without the same addictive results and side effects.

NatGeo :: Video — World’s Weirdest: Weird Killer of the Deep

I couldn't help using a picture from Finding Nemo.

Keeping to my love of strange animals, here’s a video featuring the unique angler fish. For the record, being a male angler fish, let alone being a member of the species in general, sounds like a horribly boring life.

Video — World’s Weirdest: Weird Killer of the Deep — National Geographic.

– Scientific Classification – 

The rest of the classification gets a bit foggy. You can visit Wikipedia if you’re interested.

~~~

NatGeo :: Deep-Sea Creature Photos

As much as I love the ocean, I’m really glad I live on land. If I saw this thing staring at me…

Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus)

…I might die. The ocean is one of the regions of the world that I hope we never fully understand so we can find more cool and creepy things like this. (See the tags for a list of the species found in the link below.)

Deep-Sea Creature Photos — National Geographic.

SciAm :: Gene Therapy Could Help Corals Survive Climate Change

Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife ...

Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: USFWS Pacific)

Thiiiiis is pretty cool. Something to keep an eye on as well. I should probably go visit a coral reef sometime in the near future just in case…

Gene Therapy Could Help Corals Survive Climate Change: Scientific American.

Nat Geo Magazine :: Tide Pools

Paine first established the concept of a keyst...

Image via Wikipedia

I realized I haven’t posted anything about ocean life yet. If you think about it from the view that life evolved from the sea, it’s a little silly of me. The article in the featured link for today is from the June 2011 issue of Nat Geo Magazine. Tide Pools – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine. Be sure to check out the pictures because they are gorgeous.

Tide pools are a good first post for ocean life since they’re probably the most easily accessible way to come in contact with the vast diversity that the ocean holds. For example, the article mentions the writer and a scientist finding nine phyla represented in a single tide pool.

I’m on the hunt for a good video featuring the sea star’s eating habits…