Why are venomous snails so fascinating to scientists?

Moumita Mazumdar


There are over 700 recognised species of cone snails, making them one of the most diverse groups of venomous animals on Earth. Cone snails are known for their strikingly beautiful shells. The shells come in a variety of colours, patterns, and shapes, making them popular among shell collectors. These cone snails are highly venomous and hunt by instantly killing their prey.

Cone snails have a unique hunting mechanism — they possess a modified radula, which is a feeding organ found in mollusks. This radula is transformed into a harpoon-like structure called a radular tooth, which they use to inject venom into their prey. The venom contains a complex mixture of toxins, typically consisting of hundreds of different compounds. Each cone snail species produces a unique venom cocktail, allowing them to specialise in hunting specific prey. This diversity of venoms demonstrates their…read more on NOPR