A recent abstract (APRIL 29, 2011 VOLUME 5 | NUMBER 4), under the “Comments” section, stated:

“The use of shell fish toxins such as neoSTX [neosaxitoxin] for anesthesia and analgesia looks to be very promising.”

While shellfish toxins (e.g. the toxin of Conus magus, or the Cone of Magi or the Magician’s Cone) have yielded substances showing promise in pain research (e.g. ziconotide), the substance to which the original article referred was neosaxotoxin, which is, to the best of my knowledge, derived from dinoflagellates and not from shellfish. Dinoflagellates are unicellular protists usually found as marine plankton. They are responsible for “red tides” and for bioluminescence in sea water.

Conus sp. is an animal. Dinoflagellates are more properly thought of as algae (phytoplankton).

This is, as the title says, a pedantic quibble, and does not detract from the informative nature of the abstract from an article describing a promising area of pharmacological research into ion channels and nociception. I have learned that the misidentification of dinoflagellates as shellfish was present in the original article.

Jim Carroll, CRNA