Conus textile Click to enlarge image
A live Textile Cone Shell (Conus textile) hunts on coral sand. Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef Image: Richard Ling
© Richard Ling 2005 (richard@research.canon.com.au). Licensed under GFDL and CC-by-sa-2.5. All other rights reserved.

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Genus
    Conus
  • Size Range
    0.25–2 cm

Cone shells have a cone or cylindrical-shaped shell with a muscular foot and come in a wide range of colours and patterns. They range in size from the small Pygmy Cone, Conus pymaeus, to the large Leopard Cone, Conus leopardus.

Habitat

Usually associated with coral reefs, sandy bottoms and inter-tidal environments, cone shells are found in the tropical, subtropical and temperate waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Nothing delivers venom quite like the cone shell. Harpoon-like, barbed darts are released into a sack to be coated with venom, before moving up into the shell’s snout to inject into its prey. They use this to immobilise their victim, feeding on snails, worms and small fish.

Danger to humans

If stung, seek immediate medical attention.