The First Record of a Marriage Cone, Conus sponsalis (Conidae: Gastropoda) from Korea

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    The Conus Linnaeus, 1758 is a large genus of marine gastropod mollusks belonging to the family Conidae. The Conus species are mostly distributed in the tropical waters of the world, and they are especially abundant in the Indo-West Pacific region. To date, more than 600 species, most of which are predatory species, have been named worldwide in this genus and only six species have been recorded in the Korean waters. Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguière, 1792 was collected from Jeju Island and identified as a new Korean record. In this study, we report a description of the shell morphology of the species.


    Conus sponsalis , Conidae , redescription , Jeju Island , Korea


    The Conus Linnaeus, 1758 (also known as cone shell) is a large genus of marine gastropod mollusks that contains more than 600 extant species, most of which are predatory species (Tucker and Tenorio, 2009). They are mostly distributed in the tropical seas worldwide and especially abundant in the Indo-West Pacific region (Duda et al., 2008). The Conus species normally have a toxicant sting, which they use for their predatory activity on their prey, such as polychaete annelids, echiurans, small fishes, and other gastropods (Kohn et al., 1999). In recent years, the Conus species has drawn much attention due to their extraordinary diversity of venom component which has become a major target of research in drug discovery (Jones et al., 2001; Abdel-Rahman et al., 2013). To date, a total of six Conus species have been recorded from the Korean seas in previous studies (Choe et al., 1997; Lee and Min, 2002): Couns fulmen Reeve, 1843, C. capitanellus Fulton, 1938, C. flavidus Larmark, 1810, C. fulgetrum (Sowerby, 1834), C. lischkeanus Weinkauff, 1875 and C. orbignyi Audouin, 1831. In this study, we identified the marriage cone, Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguière, 1792, and hereto report it as a new record from the Korean waters.

    Only one individual was collected by scuba diving in a depth of 24 m from the Jeju Island in Korea on the 17th of March, 2013. The morphology of the specimen was observed under a stereomicroscope (Leica MZ12.5; Leica, Germany) and identified as C. sponsalis Hwass in Bruguière, 1792, the first record of the Korean fauna. The voucher specimen was deposited in the Marine Mollusk Resources Bank of Korea (MMRBK; MMRBK no. G00000210) at Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.


    Class Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797Order Caenogastropoda Cox, 1960Order Hypsogastropoda Ponder & Lindberg, 1997Order Neogastropoda Thiele, 1925 Superfamily Conoidea Fleming, 1822Family Conidae Fleming, 1822Genus Conus Linnaeus, 1758

      >  1*Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguiere, 1792 (Fig. 1)

    Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguière, 1792: 635, Pl. 322, fig. 1 (cited from Kohn, 1959); Lamarck, 1810: 38; Adams and Adams, 1858: 248; Okutani, 2000: 588, 589, 591, Pl. 293, fig. 19; Poppe, 2008: 520, 521, Pl. 555, figs. 3-5; Zhongyan, 2004: 125, Pl. 075, fig. B.Conus nanus Broderip, 1833: 53.Coronaxis sponsalis Adams and Adams, 1858: 248.Conus nana Paetel, 1887: 302 (cited from Kohn, 1959).

    Type locality. Indo-West Pacific; Rowley Shoals, New South wales.

    Material examined. 1 individual, Korea: Jeju-do, Seogwiposi, Bomok-dong, Supseom, 17 Mar 2013.

    Measurement. Shell height 20 mm; shell width 11 mm.

    Description. Shell is small, solid, obconic-cylindrical in shape, height up to 30 mm. Spire coronate, blunt, composed nearly of 1/5th of whole body. Shoulder broad, roundly tubercle on the edge; a fine beaded spiral on body whorl. One spiral band of pale-reddish brown spots on ivory background, anterior tip dark-purple. Aperture narrow, ivory in color; inner lip red-brown spot on white, outer lip yellowish-white in color. Spiral canal short and opened.

    Remarks. This species resembles a Conus nanus (Sowerby I, 1833) in size and the external shape but differs from it in the body whorl color: in C. sponsalis, the middle part of the body whorl is marked by one or two red-brown spots or spiral bands, whereas C. nanus has no such color pattern. In general, the identification of cone shells using the shell character alone often presents difficulties, because their shell character is so simple with no specific well-developed ornamentation and variable depending on the environmental factors (Duda et al., 2008). The comparison of a radular morphology can be used as an additional value for the correct species identification (Franklin et al., 2007). In this study, however, the radular morphology of C. sponsalis was not provided, requiring further study on their radular morphology.

    Habitat. On rocks and pebbles in intertidal region, and sand floors and coral reefs in subtidal zones.

    Distribution. Australian, Papua New Guinea, Philippine, China, Japan, Korea (Jeju-do).

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  • [Fig. 1.] Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguiere, 1792. A, Ventral view; B, Dorsal view. Scale bar: A, B=10 mm.
    Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguiere, 1792. A, Ventral view; B, Dorsal view. Scale bar: A, B=10 mm.