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  • José H. Leal

Safety in Numbers?

Cone snails are known to perform communal spawning (AKA as group spawning), where many females deposit their egg capsules in the same spot. But it looks like this small group of communal-spawning cone snails include two species, the Florida Cone, Conus anabathrum, and the Alphabet Cone, Conus spurius. They were apparently laying their eggs on an empty Horseshoe Crab carapace, at Caxambas Pass, south of Marco Island, Florida. We accept that the communal spawning behavior supposedly improves on the potential for survival of the eggs, as the presence of numerous capsules may swamp and stun potential egg predators. It is unusual to see two species depositing egg capsules in the same spot; the occurrence of egg capsules of two species may further improve on the survival of the eggs and resulting embryos for both. And this is another winning photo by Amy Tripp.

Cone snails performing communal spawning, Caxambas Pass, Florida. Illustration by Amy Tripp.
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