Terebridae - Auger Shells

Terebridae, the auger shells, have tall, slender, conical shells with high pointed spires and numerous whorls. The siphonal canals are short, sometimes twisted, with a distinct notch at its base. Most have some sort of axial (radial) ribs. Their common name refers to the shell's resemblance to boring drill bits or screws. They are sand-dwelling carnivores. Many have a venomous barb (similar to cone shells) that is used to stun their prey which consists mainly of worms. The venom from Terebridae (called teretoxins) are similar in structure and composition to the venom from cone shells (called conotoxins, one of with has already been approved as a drug to alleviate chronic pain in HIV and cancer patients) and is currently being studied for therapeutic and pharmacological potentials. There are 7 species found in Texas.