One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Shell a predatory mollusk of warm seas, with a conical shell that typically displays intricate patterns. 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
- ‘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.’
- ‘But consider the unassuming cone shell - just the kind of malicious mollusk that will ‘actually sometimes go for you.’’
- ‘In some cone shells, for instance, the venom needed to kill those dozen adult humans would fit on the head of a pin.’
- ‘Rocks, coral and cone shells are better left undisturbed where they lie.’
- ‘Out on the reef I'd have been unhappy about picking up a stromb because of its close resemblance to the lethal cone shell.’
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