Friends, Acquaintances, & Enemies

Coral reefs are full of life. Conus magus is constantly interacting with all sorts of other organisms: the corals provide it with a home and protection, crabs and other crustaceans prey on it, it preys on small fish, and it shares the reef with many other organisms. Its interactions are not limited to just the organisms that live directly in this environment but also with humans that have come into these habitats.

The corals that make up the reef are the home for the Magician's Cone Snail. The snail lives its life amongst these corals; it hides underneath them for safety during the day, it crawls to the tops of them at night for hunting, and it even lays its egg capsules on them. The species of corals that make up these reefs come from the Order Scleractinia and are commonly known as the Stony Colonial Corals.

The biggest threat to Conus magus are crabs. Crabs love to eat them by prying their shells open then feeding on their bodies. Depending on where the snail is, the crab could be more specifically a Porcelain Crab or a King Crab. Although they spend most of the day inactive, hiding under coral or sand, in hopes of avoiding being consumed by a crab, at night they come out to do a little hunting of their own (to learn more about how exactly they hunt be sure to visit my Meal Time page). When they do hunt they are in search of small fish, like clown fish. Outside of hunting fish or hiding from crabs, Conus magus see lots of other species around the reef. Some of these species include the Bullethead Parrotfish, Red Lionfish, Sea Cucumbers, and Seahorses, just to name a few.

                                                                                     Below image provided by © 2011 Guido & Philippe Poppe -

 When it comes to human interactions Conus magus has great medicinal value; the venom is an important component in new pain treatment therapies (for more information on medicinal uses please visit Dr. Conus magus). The Magician's Cone was the first marine species to be used in drug development and has provoked a wave of new interest in the medicinal value of marine species. Although the chemicals that make up its venom have proved to be very helpful to humans, a sting from Conus magus is rather dangerous and shells must be collected very carefully. While there have been no documented deaths directly from the sting of Conus magus, other Conus species, such as C. geographus, C. tulipa, and C. straitus, have caused death within seconds. These deaths are not incredibly common and are usually accidental when a shell is picked up with the bare hand or is broken, yet all Conus species should be handled with great care.

Visit Meal Time next to learn how exactly the Magician's Cone Snail goes about hunting and digesting those yummy fish.

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                                                                                                                          Created by Kayla Haas, BIO 203                        To Check out other organism websites visit                            University of Wisconsin-La Crosse