Researchers have found out that cone snail don’t only employ neurotoxins while dealing with their enemies and prey but also induce some wicked low blood sugar in the fish they usually target.
These slow moving predators have previously been widely attributed to use neurotoxins in order to kill or immobilize their prey but a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that they add a special type of insulin for the above cause as well.
This was found when two species of cone snails were producing a different king of insulin than which is required to regulate their own blood sugar. Upon further, analysis it was found that this type of insulin was quite to similar to the one produced by the fish to regulate its blood sugar and which is a common prey for these cone snail species, and mind you it was also present in high doses in the venom which these cone snails produced.
This weaponized insulin was probably acquired as an evolutionary additive in order to catch more prey for the snails survival cause in environments where prey may have been hard to come by. Insulin is a hormone that allows the absorption of sugar present in the blood stream by cells. Therefore it is important to an organism’s survival point of view, but too much of it can also be harmful, as it would trigger more sugar to be absorbed from the bloodstream resulting in too less to be left in the blood stream. In extreme cases this may cause death.
So these cone snails through the insulin in their venom send the fish into hypoglycemic shock, which ultimately makes these fish become lethargic as a result of low blood sugar levels. This makes them easier to capture in the end.