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Conus textile Linnaeus 1758

"The yellow kind are called Partridges or Gold Cloth, because their entire body is painted with yellow feathers, that have black edges, almost like the feathers of that Bird."

Rumphius, Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet (II.21.10)

The earliest death from a cone shell was reported by the German naturalist Georgius Everhardus Rumphius, who spent much of his life in the employ of the Dutch East India Company on the island of Ambon in the Moluccas. In the D'amboinsche Rariteitkamer ("Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet"), published posthumously in 1705, he remarks that a female slave died from envenomation by a C. textile (Textile Cone), a species of molluscivorous cone.

"...both [kinds of mollusk] have a narrow mouth, and can stick out a little tongue, that is white, edged with red, and in it is a small bone, or thorn, which will hurt you, if stung by it....they are not innocent of poison, which was experienced by a slave woman on Banda, who knew that she had only held this little Whelk in her hand, which she had picked up out of the Sea, while they were pulling in a Seine net; and while she was walking to the beach, she felt a slight itching in her hand, which gradually crept up her arm and through her entire body; and so she died from it instantaneously."

Rumphius, in fact, was the first to observe that certain mollusks use a radular tooth to inject their venom.

This illustration of C. textile is from Plate XXXII of the Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet.


ReferencesThe Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet: Georgius Everhardus Rumphius (1999) translated by E. M. Beekman.

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