6 Jan 2009

Deadly rare shellfish found

2:41 pm on 6 January 2009

A diver has discovered a rare shellfish species in the Bay of Islands that can have fatal consequences if touched.

The carnivorous cone shell is usually found in tropical waters and has been known to kill a person within 20 minutes.

Diver-photographer Alan Morrison, who made the discovery, says wetsuits and gloves offer little protection if a person handles a cone shell because the species injects its venom with a harpoon-like protrusion.

Cone shells have also been found in Parengarenga and Whangaroa waters.

However, Tony Enderby who has studied them for many years, says people have more chance of coming into contact with a shark than a cone shell.