Abstract

The structure of the proboscis and anterior alimentary system is described and reviewed in the three families (Conidae, Terebridae, Turridae) of the Conoidea (=Toxoglossa). A number of proboscis forms are shown, characterized by the presence of a permanent rhynchodeum, modified alimentary system and a venom apparatus. Despite the diversity of prey types in the Conidae (polychaetes, molluscs and fish) they have a uniform proboscis structure with a long buccal tube and functional buccal and venom apparati. This homogeneity is not present in the Turridae and the Terebridae which show a variety of proboscis structures. Terebrids feed only on polychaetes or hemichordates but appear to have three primary feeding modes based on significant difference in the structure and function of the buccal tube and associated buccal organs. The greatest variety of proboscis type is found in the diverse Turridae which feed mainly on polychaetes, but include sipunculans, gastropods and nemerteans in their diet.

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