Conus is the largest genus of animals in the sea, occurring throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical oceans and contributing significantly to marine biodiversity. The shells of these marine mollusks are prized for their amazing variety and extraordinary beauty. The neurotoxic venoms they produce—injected by a hollow, harpoon-like tooth into prey animals that are then paralyzed and swallowed whole—have a range of pharmaceutical applications, from painkillers to antidepressants. This beautifully illustrated book identifies 53 valid species of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean, a region that supports a diverse but taxonomically challenging group of Conus. Introductory chapters cover the evolution and phylogeny of the genus, and notes on methodology are provided. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, taxonomy, distribution, ecology, toxicology, life history, and evolutionary relationships. The book includes more than 2,100 photos of shells on 109 splendid color plates; more than 100 additional photos, many depicting live animals in color; and 35 color distribution maps.
- Identifies 53 valid species—the first reassessment of western Atlantic Conus in more than seventy years
- Features more than 2,100 photos of shells on 109 color plates
- Blends the traditional shell-character approach to identification with cutting-edge shell and radular tooth morphometrics and molecular genetic analyses
- Includes color images of live animals as well as color distribution maps
Alan J. Kohn is professor emeritus of biology at the University of Washington. His books include Manual of the Living Conidae: Indo-Pacific Region and Life History and Biogeography: Patterns in Conus.
"The comprehensive and clearly written species accounts, ranging from two to seven pages in length, occupy the bulk of the book. The volume is lavishly illustrated with 2,000-plus photos, presenting multiple images showing the variation of shapes and colors within each species. A valuable resource for anyone interested in cone shells in general and the mollusks of the tropical western Atlantic Ocean."--Choice
"Conus is for the serious naturalist and a must for the hard-core beachcomber. Kohn, a foremost authority on cone snails, displays his scholarship on every page, with 2,100 mesmerizing color shell photographs of these fascinating gastropods."--Bill Cannon, Scientist's Bookshelf
"World-class scholarship. This is a great book that takes readers on a scholarly grand tour from the earliest research history to the latest methodological approaches used to understand the biology and relationships of this intriguing group of gastropods. Kohn provides an amazing and unprecedented wealth of information."--Rüdiger Bieler, coauthor of Seashells of Southern Florida
"Alan Kohn is considered the world's expert on Conus, and I greatly admire him as a scientist. It is doubtful anyone will ever undertake a more detailed and comprehensive study of this topic in the region. This is as good as it gets for Caribbean or any other regional group of mollusks. I predict Kohn's book will become an instant classic."--Fabio Moretzsohn, coauthor of Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells
Table of Contents
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