One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A predatory mollusc of warm seas, with a conical, typically intricately patterned, shell. It captures prey by injecting venom, which can be lethal to humans, and the shells are popular with collectors.
Genus Conus, family Conidae, class Gastropoda: numerous species
- ‘Out on the reef I'd have been unhappy about picking up a stromb because of its close resemblance to the lethal cone shell.’
- ‘In some cone shells, for instance, the venom needed to kill those dozen adult humans would fit on the head of a pin.’
- ‘Like that guy I mentioned before was reputed to have been scraping the back of the shell with a knife, and the cone shell got aggravated about that and fired the harpoon into his palm.’
- ‘Rocks, coral and cone shells are better left undisturbed where they lie.’
- ‘But consider the unassuming cone shell - just the kind of malicious mollusk that will ‘actually sometimes go for you.’’
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