The phylum of Molluscs (from the Latin mollusca = a variety of nut with a soft shell) includes about 45,000 species with a wealth of disparate shapes and functions, living in different habitats. Molluscs are present in waters all over the globe; they can be static or mobile, nude (Fig. 5.1) or covered with a protective shell, herbivores or carnivores, microphages or macrophages. The biotoxins isolated from Molluscs up to now have various chemical and pharmacological structures; some are only urticant or have a repellent smell or taste, others are highly toxic and paralyse their prey. In some Molluscs, the filtrating bivalves, the toxins are exogenous and come from phytoplankton. Of the five classes belonging to this phylum, three have the greatest toxicity: Lamellibranchia, Gasteropodia and Cephalopodia (Table 5.1) [1, 2].
Table 5.1. The phylum of Molluscs. The toxic species are indicated
1. Class: Lamellibranchs (bivalves)
2. Class: Gasteropods (shells)
A. Subclass: Opisthobranchs
B. Subclass: Prosobranchs
Species: Muricidae (jagged shells)
Species: Conidae (cone shells)
Conus gloria maris
Con us textile
3. Class: Cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish)
KeywordsSalivary Gland Cone Shell Protective Shell Hard Shell Soft Shell
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