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"Conus" of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean

"Conus" of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 576
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  • Book Info
    "Conus" of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean
    Book Description:

    Conusis the largest genus of animals in the sea, occurring throughout the world's tropical and subtropical oceans and contributing significantly to marine biodiversity. The shells of these marine mollusks are prized for their amazing variety and extraordinary beauty. The neurotoxic venoms they produce-injected by a hollow, harpoon-like tooth into prey animals that are then paralyzed and swallowed whole-have a range of pharmaceutical applications, from painkillers to antidepressants. This beautifully illustrated book identifies 53 valid species of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean, a region that supports a diverse but taxonomically challenging group ofConus. Introductory chapters cover the evolution and phylogeny of the genus, and notes on methodology are provided. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, taxonomy, distribution, ecology, toxicology, life history, and evolutionary relationships. The book includes more than 2,100 photos of shells on 109 splendid color plates; more than 100 additional photos, many depicting live animals in color; and 35 color distribution maps.

    Identifies 53 valid species-the first reassessment of western AtlanticConusin more than seventy yearsFeatures more than 2,100 photos of shells on 109 color platesBlends the traditional shell-character approach to identification with cutting-edge shell and radular tooth morphometrics and molecular genetic analysesIncludes color images of live animals as well as color distribution maps

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5301-4
    Subjects: Zoology, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The main purpose of this book is to present a systematic revision and to facilitate identification of the extant species ofConusin the Southeastern United States and Caribbean region. To accomplish this goal, each species is discussed and described objectively and consistently, including estimating within-species variation, and as clearly as possible differentiating each from its most similar congeners. In biology a picture is worth far more than the proverbial thousand words, and more than 2100 color photographs of shells, on 109 plates, an average of two per species, seek to illustrate the extent of within-species variation and between-species differences....

  6. Abbreviations Used in the Text
    (pp. 7-8)
  7. 1 Setting the Stage: Approaches
    (pp. 9-17)

    Because this book intends mainly to characterize a regionalConusfauna and to aid the identification of its species, we need to first address some general and basic questions about species: What is a species? How are species named? How are species characterized? How are species related to each other? The rest of this chapter outlines some of the methodology that allows pursuit of these questions for specific cases.

    This question is really two questions, and each has more than one answer. The first is conceptual: How is species as an entity defined? For organisms that reproduce sexually, most biologists...

  8. 2 Setting the Stage: The Geological Theater and the Evolutionary Play
    (pp. 18-31)

    Its subtitle a variation on a theme by G. Evelyn Hutchinson (1965), this chapter sets the historical geological context that fosteredConusbecoming such a diverse taxon in modern tropical seas. The chapter first outlines the complex geologic history of the western central Atlantic area, mainly during the Cenozoic era. This is the span of time that followed the last mass extinction of life in both terrestrial and marine biospheres at the end of the preceding Mesozoic era 65 million years ago (ma). Regional geology has profoundly influenced the composition of the modern marine biota of the focal region, including...

  9. 3 This Book and How to Use It
    (pp. 32-43)

    Classifications of species are scientific hypotheses. Like all hypotheses in science, those of taxonomy and classification can be supported or refuted, but they cannot be completely proved. Thus they are not certain but always subject to test, and clearly this book makes no pretensions of being the “last word.” We usually cannot test the interbreeding criterion of the biological species definition in molluscs, so the hypothesis that a particular specimen belongs to a particular species, or that one nominal species is conspecific with another, must be evaluated by interpreting all other available information about their characteristics. For shelled molluscs, these...

  10. 4 Behind the Scenes: Technical Aids to the Species Accounts
    (pp. 44-55)

    This chapter supplements the more general information in Chapter 3 to help the reader understand technical terms and methods that may be unfamiliar. The first part presents specialized glossaries of morphological terms, divided into those that apply to shells (three separate glossaries on shell shape and sculpture, shell color and pattern, and the periostracum), and to radular teeth. These supplement the General Glossary at the end of the book. The second part of the chapter consists of brief primers on the statistical methods and molecular genetic approaches used in the analyses.

    This glossary defines the shell characters described in the...

  11. 5 Species Accounts
    (pp. 56-394)

    Because of its historical importance, the first species account presents the first Western AtlanticConusspecies to be named. This is the onlyConusspecies from the region that Linnaeus described in the tenth edition of theSystema Naturae(1758), the work that founded the system of scientific names of animals that has been in continuous use ever since. The oldest valid species name of any Western AtlanticConusis thusC. granulatus. This first section of the chapter also exemplifies how the accounts of several very similar species are placed in close proximity to facilitate comparing and contrasting their...

  12. 6 Synthesis and Conclusions
    (pp. 395-418)

    This chapter draws general conclusions on the taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography of Western AtlanticConusbased on the diverse species accounts of Chapter 5. The chapter also summarizes the more limited information on morphology and biology of the regionalConusspecies and their fossil history.

    The 253 years from Linnaeus through April 1, 2011 saw publication of 263 species-group names of extantConusfrom the Western Atlantic region north of Brazil, by 71 authors and coauthors. Taxonomic study supports the current conclusion that 20% of these names apply to valid species, based mainly on shell characters but including anatomical and...

  13. Appendix 1. Molecular Phylogeny of Conus
    (pp. 419-421)
  14. Appendix 2. Morphology-Based Phylogeny of Conus
    (pp. 422-424)
  15. General Glossary
    (pp. 425-430)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 431-448)
  17. Index of Species-group Names
    (pp. 449-452)
  18. General Index
    (pp. 453-458)
  19. Epilogue
    (pp. 459-460)

    This first quotation is from Lubbock (1889, 192–193). John Lubbock (1834–1913), English naturalist, Member of Parliament, and banker, was Charles Darwin’s neighbor, student, protégé, collaborator, supporter, and friend.

    The design of a book is the pattern of reality controlled and shaped by the mind of the writer. This is completely understood about poetry or fiction, but it is too seldom realized about books of fact. And yet the impulse which drives a man to poetry will send a man into the tide pools and force him to report what he finds there. Why is an expedition to Tibet...