Chemical warfare helps snails to feast on fish

Though the humble snail is  seemingly slow, it  is cute, clever and cunning; that is if we believe  the way it is described by a group of scientists from USA, Denmark and  Australia in a paper in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. You and I have very limited basic knowledge about  this little beast . According to the authors , there are 100 species of  venomous cone snails which feast on fish. Their most  venom components are neurotoxins for its prey, predators or competitors.

Fish is fast and snail is slow. If snail wants to gobble up fish, it has to slow it down . Two fish-hunting cone snails have evolved specialized insulin that forms major components of their venoms. The authors showed how the venomous snails win the war. Snails release the insulin-containing venom into water; the unsuspecting victims while sailing in water drink the poisonous cocktail. The insulin works fast on the energy metabolism of the fish, lowers  its glucose level to dangerously low values. The disoriented schools of fish suffer hypoglycemic shock. Snails swallow them by letting them into their distended false mouth.

Please read the full paper at:

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/6/1743

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About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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One Response to Chemical warfare helps snails to feast on fish

  1. Nice article for researchers to work on anti diabetics

    Like

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