Lifesaving insulin used by Fish-Eating Snails as venom

January 19, 2015 10:18 PM

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Lifesaving insulin used by Fish-Eating Snails as venom

Fish-eating snails have been found to use insulin to drug their prey before snagging them when they’re going into the equivalent of diabetic shock. The snails can’t move quickly – so they obviously need something to equalize their hunting – and this particular thing does the trick. The cone snail stuns and kills the fish they will eventually eat by overdosing them with insulin. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that plummeting blood sugar levels shock the fish, and then ultimately cause their demise.

Once the fish is not moving, the cone snail injects a second round of toxins into the fish – before pulling it into its mouth. That ensures that the fish is paralyzed. At that point, the cone snail uses a “false mouth” to eat its prey. A cone snail specialist at the Smithsonian pointed out that “It ...

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