Presentation Title

The Cone Snail Strikes Back: A Biomechanical Study of an Ultrafast Prey Capture

Faculty Mentor

Joseph Schulz

Start Date

23-11-2019 1:30 PM

End Date

23-11-2019 1:45 PM

Location

Markstein 208

Session

oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

While predatory cone snails have been extensively studied for their venom properties, their ultrafast prey capture mechanism remains relatively recondite. Hydraulically propelling a hollow radular harpoon, the fish-hunting Conus catus of the family Conidae tethers and injects venom via this projectile into prey. In this biomechanical study, we studied the priming step, prey strike, and venom delivery of the prey capture. Energy is stored as the radular harpoon is forced against a unique cellular latch within the proboscis, a distensible appendage, until adequate pressure exceeds the latch mechanism. Subsequently, the radular harpoon reaches high accelerations—achieving velocities that mark this prey strike as the fastest in mollusks and one of the fastest in animals—before even more rapidly decelerating as the bulbous base travels to the end of the proboscis. We observed fast venom delivery following such high-speed prey strike, as the velocities of ejected venom dramatically dissipate prior to or during proboscis withdrawing. To determine if similar mechanisms exist in other members of the Conoidea superfamily, we studied Hastula hectica of the closely related Terebridae family to identify analogous structures critical to the ultrafast prey capture of C. catus. Consequently, this system may be found in a large subset of diverse marine gastropods beyond just cone snails.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 23rd, 1:30 PM Nov 23rd, 1:45 PM

The Cone Snail Strikes Back: A Biomechanical Study of an Ultrafast Prey Capture

Markstein 208

While predatory cone snails have been extensively studied for their venom properties, their ultrafast prey capture mechanism remains relatively recondite. Hydraulically propelling a hollow radular harpoon, the fish-hunting Conus catus of the family Conidae tethers and injects venom via this projectile into prey. In this biomechanical study, we studied the priming step, prey strike, and venom delivery of the prey capture. Energy is stored as the radular harpoon is forced against a unique cellular latch within the proboscis, a distensible appendage, until adequate pressure exceeds the latch mechanism. Subsequently, the radular harpoon reaches high accelerations—achieving velocities that mark this prey strike as the fastest in mollusks and one of the fastest in animals—before even more rapidly decelerating as the bulbous base travels to the end of the proboscis. We observed fast venom delivery following such high-speed prey strike, as the velocities of ejected venom dramatically dissipate prior to or during proboscis withdrawing. To determine if similar mechanisms exist in other members of the Conoidea superfamily, we studied Hastula hectica of the closely related Terebridae family to identify analogous structures critical to the ultrafast prey capture of C. catus. Consequently, this system may be found in a large subset of diverse marine gastropods beyond just cone snails.