War of the Molluscs

War of the Molluscs”, a short story, based on sea shell and mollusc facts from the book “The Shell Creatures of Planet Zirconia”, by V.Strathearn.



Marine snails or molluscs are soft, jelly-like and vulnerable.

Many molluscs wear a hard, solid coat of calcium carbonate for protection, called a sea shell.


Most molluscs can hide inside their shells, but some molluscs are larger than their shells and cannot hide.

Some even carry their own “door” or plug around and seal the opening, once inside!


However, the hard, solid calcium carbonate covering does not always protect them…

They are constantly at war! A war between the Herbivores and the Carnivores…


While the Herbivores happily munch on algae and sea weed…

…the Carnivores go hunting and they have deadly weapons…


The Murex mollusc is an active predator.

It can drill through shell, then inject a neurotoxic mucous to kill the prey inside.

To feed, it then breaks the shell and tears up the flesh of the prey.


The Tun mollusc is much larger than its own shell. It eats fish, crabs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

It first paralyses its prey with a salivary secretion containing sulphuric acid, then swallows it whole!


The Cone mollusc is a dangerous carnivore. It shoots poisonous barbs into its prey.

It will also shoot poisonous barbs into human fingers or toes, if threatened.

Some Cones are extremely toxic, even deadly, to humans.


The Moon shell mollusc has a sharp drill-like tongue to bore a hole into the shell of its prey,

in three minutes!

Shells found with neat, round holes, are evidence of Moon shell feeding.


Story, illustrations and photographs by V.Strathearn.


About Verena

I am fascinated by nature's amazing little treasures found on beaches. By creating art with shells, they can be preserved, enjoyed and admired in a different way.

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