ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cone Shells – Predatory Gastropods Living in the Great Barrier Reef

Updated on June 27, 2019
Karanda profile image

Karen has lived in the Whitsunday Region since 2009. The Great Barrier Reef is a four hour boat ride from where she lives.

Cone Shells

Pretty but toxic conefish
Pretty but toxic conefish | Source

The Cone Shape

Cone shells or cone snails as they are sometimes referred, relate to the family of predatory gastropods. The cone shells is one of the many organisms inhabiting the Great Barrier Reef, along with live coral and numerous varieties of colourful tropical fish. The shells are as the name suggests, shaped in a perfect cone that tapers from the base in much the same way as a pine cone. The cone shells have an attractive look about them, some with brilliant eye catching colours and such intricate patterns that children have an instant desire to pick them up but their outer covering is spiked with poisons that can cause serious injury on contact.

Some Facts About the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system of the world and was named as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and came in at number three on the list of the seven underwater wonders of the world. Apart from the live coral of the reef the waters are alive with whales, dolphins, turtles and 1500 species of fish. It is such a vast area it can be seen from outer space stretching along the Queensland coastline of north eastern Australia.

The Dangerous Marine Creatures of the Great Barrier Reef Series has been commissioned by Toscana Village Resort, Airlie Beach Accommodation.

Great Barrier Reef From Above

Cone Shells - Predatory Gastropods Explained

What is a gastropod?

An animal in the gastropod family means it has a soft body and lives in a single shell. The common garden snail is part of the family and just as the garden snail has many varieties, there are 80 different species of cone shells in Australia, many of which are found inhabiting the Great Barrier Reef.

What is it about cone shells that make them predatory?

Surely these innocent and beautiful looking shells are not destructive or greedy are they? In actual fact, the surface of the shell while perfectly cone shaped and attractive, has hidden teeth which act like small harpoons strong enough to penetrate clothing. The animal will use these spears whenever it feels threatened but mostly to prey on other marine organisms.

The harpoons shoot out toxic peptides that are considered highly poisonous. Because there is no antivenin from the poisons of cone shells, medical attention should be sought immediately. Pressure immobilisation first aid needs to be applied and in severe cases assisted ventilation. Symptoms might include slurred speech, blurred vision and muscle weakness. Identifying shells before contact is imperative to staying safe while playing in the region.

More Shells of the Great Barrier Reef

Apart from the dangerous cone shells there are many beautiful and less harmful shells to be found along the reef. There are also a number of edible shells from the miniature clam to rock oysters. The Great Barrier Reef has no less than six of the eight varieties of large clams of the world. While not so much an edible treat they are certainly something to view from a distance. Care should be observed that no foreign particles enter the delicate inside of the shell if you are lucky enough to find one of these open mouthed as you explore under the surface and around the coral of the reef.

Airlie Beach Gateway to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef

If you are planning a trip to see all the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, Airlie Beach is well worth a look as the place to settle in and plan your adventures. The town is known as the gateway to the Whitsundays as a number of the 74 islands are within easy reach by boat or ferry. Tours to the Great Barrier Reef itself are varied and plentiful from half day snorkel tours to overnight stays as little as thirty minutes away.

The Dangerous Marine Creatures of the Great Barrier Reef Series has been commissioned by Toscana Village Resort, Airlie Beach Accommodation.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Karen Wilton


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)