Taxonomic Classification of the Cone Shell Snail (Conus Geographus) and the uses of its venom

Essay by TobyJLHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2012

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Conus geographus


Intro - Slide 1 (Cone shell snail)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated "The most dangerous thing is illusion". Good morning/afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Tobias and today I will speak to you on the dangerous illusion that is the Geography Cone.

Ranging in size from four to six inches the geography cone is hardly a terrifying sight. In fact, the intricate patterns found on its shell are almost trancelike, but beneath this facade of beauty is some of the most potent venom known to man.

Cone Shell Snails/C. geographus - slide 2

The geography cone or Conus geographus is one of over 500 species of cone shell snails. Typically, these snails inhabit the warm and tropical seas of the world, found predominantly in coral reef environments all over the world. C. geographus specifically, are found under rocks and coral in the intertidal and sub tidal regions of coral reefs.

It is widely distributed throughout the Indo-west pacific and the coastline of the northern coastline of Australia. C. geographus is the largest of the Conus species and also the most venomous, according to the Queensland Museum ( the geography cone is responsible for at least a dozen human deaths.

Taxonomy - slide 3

Taxonomy is the science dealing with the description, identification, naming and classification of organisms. It is important to note that classification is the arrangement of things according to shared qualities and characteristics. Using a pre-determined structure Taxonomists arrange a catalogue resulting in a framework for discussion, analysis and information retrieval.

Why classify one may ask? Is a bee not just a bee, a dog not just a dog or a fly not just a fly?

Take into account a car. A car is a type of vehicle but not every...