Conus floccatus Sowerby, 1839
Floccatus cone, 64mm

Conus floccatus is one of the more variable cone shells. Its background color range from near white to yellow to lavender and the dark markings on the shells vary in shape and arrangement. This is a nocturnally active fish-eating cone that lives mostly on the seaward slope and in surge channels, but can also be found on large midlagoon pinnacles and even on some interisland patch reefs.

Egg cases, each containing numerous eggs, are affixed to the undersurfaces of rocks until the eggs hatch. Most species of cones hatch into planktonic larvae that drift with the currents for some length of time before settling down to the reef to begin a benthic existence.

The yellow brown periostracum on the specimen below probably covers a mostly white to slightly yelowish shell with brown markings.

The next two shots show a distinctly yellow specimen.

Looking into the anterior end, we can see the red-tipped tubular siphon used to draw water into the shell to flow across the gills. Below that is the round and slightly puckered mouth, from which the tentacle bearing the venomous harpoon extends. After the cone stings a prey, it will expand its mouth around to engulf it. On both sides of the mouth, we can see a sensory tentacle with an eye near the tip.

Below are two young specimens, one distinctly yellow and the other lavender.

Created 4 July 2009

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