There are over 500 species of cone snails. Cone Snails are marine animals and they are found in coastal areas. No two species produce the same kind of venom. Cone snails have an organ called a proboscis. This is used to inject their lethal venom into it's prey. Their venom is very dangerous, even to humans. However, this same venom could be the next best thing since morphine. The venom contains substances called conotoxins. These are small peptides, normally only 20-30 amino acids in length. Because conotoxins are short, they are fairly easy to manufacture. In many cases, the conotoxins are "channel" proteins that control the flow of electrically charged particles such as calcium, sodium, and potassium into and out of cells. By blocking these channels, the toxins in the venom shut down messages between the brain and muscles, causing paralysis or electrical shock in a snail's prey.
Important Facts About Cone Snails
- Cone snails are loaded with a venom capable of stopping a large fish dead in its tracks.
- The venom is 1000 times more powerful than morphine.
- Once properly tested, could one day cure epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Close encounters with cone snails
Calcium Channel Blockers
Important Cone Snail People