Watch These Cunning Snails Stab and Swallow Fish Whole | Deep Look

Watch These Cunning Snails Stab and Swallow Fish Whole | Deep Look

Big news. You can now support Deep Look on Patreon. More after the show. Cone snails are striking … in more ways
than one. They lurk in the sand around coral reefs. And wait til you see what’s under the hood. That pretty veneer is hiding an impressive
array of tools … and weapons. A cone snail’s breathing tube, called a
siphon, is actually more like a sheet of muscle rolled into a snorkel. Besides drawing water to gills deep in its
shell, the siphon also can pick up the scent of unsuspecting prey. That’s when the cone snail goes spearfishing. Its extendible proboscis is packing a concealed
weapon. A tiny, hollow harpoon made of chitin, the
same tough stuff in a lobster shell. And the end of the proboscis is tricked out
with receptors. Taste buds. That help it close in on its target. When it strikes, the snail’s pace jumps
to light speed. The embedded harpoon doubles as a hypodermic
needle to inject the victim with paralyzing venom. As it reels in the catch, the cone snail uses
another covert tool called a rostrum. It opens up to swallow the fish whole. Some cone snails hunt more familiar prey. Other snails. The smaller snail digs down to hide its shell
opening. The predator looks for a way in. When it finds it, the hunter hits its prey
with more than one shot of venom. A lot is going on in the fifth of a second
before the snail fires that harpoon. So let’s rewind and break it down. First the proboscis flexes as the muscles
inside prepare for the strike. Then the venom floods into the proboscis,
but stops just short of the harpoon. A round muscle holds the lethal fluid in check,
like a kink in a hose, building even more pressure. Then, everything blows, and propels the venom
into the harpoon, the harpoon into the prey. What has scientists interested in cone snails
is that their venom varies not only from species to species but also from individual to individual,
and even from shot to shot. In fact they seem to mix their venom cocktail
on the fly from thousands of unique ingredients, each with its own purpose. All this variety means a world of new drugs
could lie under that shell. Novel ways to treat things like chronic pain,
Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Most cone snail strikes hurt as much as a
bee sting. A few can kill you though, like this geography
cone, it has the most venomous sting in the world. Here’s a tip: Don’t go gathering these
shells when you’re snorkeling in Australia. Matt O’Dowd: Or as they say down under,
if it’s a cone, leave it alone. Laura: It’s Matt O’Dowd from Space Time! Matt: Good’ay Laura. Laura: Matt spends as much time thinking about
very big things, like the universe, as we do thinking about very small things. Matt: That’s right, but if you want really
small, you check out our quantum mechanics playlist. Laura: Nice. You can support both Deep Look and Space Time
on Patreon. Follow the links here and in the description
to learn more. Thanks for watching. Matt: Catch you later.

100 thoughts on “Watch These Cunning Snails Stab and Swallow Fish Whole | Deep Look

  1. Does anyone know of a supplier in the USA, I have 2 cone snails of the Florida coast for years. And they finally passed away, I was looking to purchase some again. If anyone knows message me please!

  2. Matt is a robot, just look at his hand movement. He also speaks like a robot. Must be cgi or ai robot

  3. Their venom is apparently lethal to humans, too. That's why it should be advised for people to be extremely cautious in the water and don't pick up what looks like to be a seemingly innocent shell—because you never know what it houses and if it's deadly or not.

  4. I would have made a good Australian if I could withstand the heat. I LOVE Australian wildlife, even the deadly ones. <3

  5. Thanks for making these docuvideos public. They are so educational and well made! I never knew that some snails use venom to kill their prey.

  6. Satan: There's literally no way you can make snails scary.
    Australian Satan: Hold my shark-eating dingoes

  7. I knew it was a cone snail when I read the thumb nail. Watch out people of Australia, these things can kill you and the worse part,there's no cure. Whoa, I went a little dark there,sorry. (But seriously these things are very dangerous,so watch it)

  8. Welcome to Australia where you can get killed by anything! If you get attacked by something we are not part of the issue and will not give you full medical attention!

  9. We extremely thank those loony atheists for producing such stunning nature documentaries that increase and strengthen our believes in existence and wisdom of the almighty Allah.

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