Cone snail's unique weapon: insulin

A new study published in the Proceedings of  the National Academy of Sciences shows that cone snails use a pretty neat tactic to capture prey. They release insulin to lower blood sugar (i.e. hypoglycemic shock), which immobilizes fish for an easy meal. The venomous insulin is molecularly different from molluscan insulin and was actually found to be similar to fish insulin.

Sources: 

Safav-Hemami H, Gajewiak J, Karanth S, Robinson SD, Ueberheide B, Douglass AD, Schlegel A, Imperial JS, Watkins M, Bandyopadhyay PK, Yandell M, Li Q, Purcell AW, Norton RS, Ellgaard L, Olivera BMSpecialized insulin is used for chemical warfare by fish-hunting cone snails. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In Press. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423857112

 

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I find this very interesting as I have never known how snails catch their prey, but know I know. Snails have developed a very clever way to catch their prey.

By Shannon Nicol (not verified) on 04 Mar 2015 #permalink