Dec. 11, 2020

The rest of this story

This is the pattern on a cloth-of-gold cone shell. The shell is about three inches long, and of course cone shaped. Around the time I was collecting shells, I had read a murder mystery in which this was the fatal weapon. People have indeed died from cloth-of-gold stings, and all other cones are dangerous to some degree. So, picture the image in my brain from yesterdays conch. Cone shell stingers must be a lot like that claw? Pick them up from the back and you will be OK? That's what I did, including a much larger one from a reef. Turns out those were some of the many times in my life that I survived when I didn't deserve to. The stinging operation with cones is very different. They actually shoot darts into their prey, presumably in any direction. The results are so instant that even these snails can catch up to their prey. These carnivores mostly eat small fish. Think one would have dined on thumb if I hadn't inexplicably escaped being harpooned?