else of note happened that morning, and all was calm when I darkened
the living room that evening. It didn't take long for the Conus
tulipa to sense that "nightfall" had come, and within
a few minutes he had resumed his nightly hunting. He started out by
climbing the glass, but in a short while had worked his way down to
the bottom perimeter of the tank, obviously on course to crawl directly
over Emilio Bandanus. I reached for my camera and waited.
the Conus tulipa continued toward Emilio, the bandanus cone sensed
his approach, and began to extend his proboscis. The C. tulipa was
crawling on the glass just above Emilio when he struck. A quick sting,
and the Conus tulipa fell from the glass, toppling onto his back.
He landed almost directly on Emilio's dorsum, and the Conus bandanus
spent the next thirty minutes clumsily attempting to reposition himself
to finish off the C. tulipa. During this time the Conus tulipa
exhibited the same symptoms that the other cones had shown after being
stung: he could move his siphon in and out, and could extend or retract
his foot, but was unable to crawl or get any grip on the aquarium glass.
did finally get himself and his victim oriented suitably, then harpooned
the Conus tulipa a second time for good measure. The C. tulipa
did not flinch this time. Emilio then wrapped his "mouth"
around a section of the C. tulipa's foot, beginning near the
posterior end, and then slowly stretched it down over the anterior part
of the foot. As the tulip cone withdrew into its shell, Emilio went
in with it. For two hours the Conus bandanus slowly extracted
his victim, and you could even see the colors of the tissue being ingested
through the semi-transparent tube that the C. bandanus used for
feeding. For about an hour of that time, Emilio also had his siphon
inserted into the tulipa shell. Could he tell by "smell"
how the extraction was progressing?
Emilio had completely removed the Conus tulipa from its shell,
he cast it aside and worked on getting himself and his new meal back
into his shell. The C. tulipa wasn't terribly large, but the
thin shell holds a lot of animal! I had guessed that the bandanus cone
would settle down and hide for a day or so until he could completely
retract into his shell, but Emilio didn't. It hadn't been too long
since he had eaten Andy Omaria, so he wasn't empty and starving, but
within about twenty minutes of finishing off the tulip cone he had managed
to get his gut and foot both back into his shell. Emilio, now fat and
happy, buried his nose in the gravel and all was quiet in the aquarium
aquarium remained quiet for the next two days. I could still see a
proboscis or siphon tip emerge from the gravel occasionally, so I knew
where Art and Paul were hiding. If only Emilio had known.
now recovered from his feasting, decided to check out the territory
on the other side of the aquarium. He pulled himself from the rubble,
and slowly crawled toward the middle of the tank, directly into Art
Textile's ambush. As he passed over Art, the results were predictable.
reached up and harpooned Emilio, and since he was directly above the
anterior tip of Art's shell, the trick he had used on Paul didn't work.
I now believe that Paul must not have been successful in all his attempts
at stinging the Conus bandanus, because the sting from Art stopped
Emilio dead in his tracks. With Emilio withdrawn into his shell, it
was hard to tell if Art stung him more than once, but I suspect that
he did. In any case, Art made no attempt at eating the C. bandanus,
but he did crawl from his hiding place and make a victory lap around
the aquarium before burying himself once again.
watched Emilio carefully over the next two days, and it was a familiar
pattern that I was observing. Like the others before him, and even
his own victims, Emilio would retract his siphon, then extend it. At
first he could extend his foot slightly, but after the first day he
only seemed capable of moving his siphon. I checked on him a couple
of times each day to see if he was still alive, but like all of the
other "Cone Wars" victims, on the third day after being stung
he was dead.
so ends this volume of the Cone Wars. Salute all the warriors, but
hail Conus Textile, Champion of the Cone Wars.