A close-up of the female marbled cone snail and her egg clusters (Courtesy of Jeanette and Scott Johnson)The marbled cone snail is dioecious, which literally translates to “two houses.”  This means they have separate sexes and separate sex organs, so they are not hermaphrodites, like other gastropods such as Fumonelix archeri.  They reproduce sexually by internal fertilization.  C. marmoreus undergoes protostome development; this means its cells go through a mitotic division known as spiral cleavage and the blastopore develops into the mouth of the organism.  Schizocoelus development, which occurs when the gut is independent of the mesoderm tissue during formation of the coelom, is part of protostome development.  An example of another organism that undergoes protostome development is the Common Green Bottle Fly.  The giraffe is an example of an animal that undergoes deuterstome development.

Female marbled cone snail next to her many clusters of eggs (Courtesy of Jeanette and Scott Johnson)The female marbled cone snail lays hundreds of eggs in egg capsules, as shown to the left (the white coral-looking stuff).  A few of these eggs hatch and even fewer mature into adults.  Those eggs that do hatch, however, hatch into miniature cone snails, as opposed to larval forms.  This is an example of an r-selected reproductive strategy, where a small organism develops rapidly, reproduces early with many offspring, and provides little to no care for their offspring.

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