A common but mysterious species first discovered by a gentleman named Weatherwax
early in the 20th century
in the United States
. The cone
was first spotted on a remote rural
highway; however, since then it has spread from there to interstate
s to school playing fields to parking lots and so on.
There are several variants. Conus commonus interstatus, or the common highway cone, is typically around 36 inches in height and rests on a solid square base. Its plumage is a bright (Day-Glo) orange in color. Mature individuals may have a reflective white ring around their necks. These types usually congregate in lines near the site of highway construction. While no firm explanation for this behavior has been advanced, the generally accepted hypothesis is that they are particularly fond of raw asphalt and donuts, both of which can be found at said construction sites.
Although easily approached at high speed, these cones are actually quite devious when approached on foot. Attempts to capture them will more often than not produce an irate policeman, whose presence had been noted by the cone. Why police react in such a fashion to the theft of cones is unknown. However, it seems likely that the police (state troopers, typically) rely on cones for marking fruitful donut acquisition sites where they may drink coffee and eat said donuts in relative peace.
These cones are neither nocturnal nor diurnal, but can be found in the wild at all times of day. Sometimes they do sleep in the field, as they are easier to capture at night. One risky but effective means of capture is the moving snare or Drive-by Cone, in which the hunter extends him or herself from a moving vehicle and attempts to catch one by surprise as it is passed. This is risky, however, for not only will the guardian Cops be more annoyed at such techniques (they may feel it is a slight to their presence) but mishandling the cone can result in personal or vehicular damage, especially at high speed.
Next up is the Conus dimunitus academosportus, or the Scholarly Sport cone. These are smaller than their highway cousins, measuring anywhere from twelve to twenty-four inches in height. Their plumage is a darker orange in color, shading almost towards red, with less of a Day-Glo sheen, although some individuals will atavistically display full day-glo plumage. They are found during the day scattered about school sports fields, typically those fields with no permanent markings or structures, and (luckily for gym teachers) like to hang about in formations handy for delineating playing areas of popular sports. At night they are a communal species, and can be found nestled in tight stacks in darkened closets at said institutions. Although symbiotically defended during the day by gym teachers much as their brethren the highway cones are defended by police, the sport cones are definitely diurnal and quite vulnerable at night if one can breach their secured lairs.
Finally we have the Conus instructus vehiculus, or the driving instruction cone. Although superficially similar to their cousins the highway cone, these variants are typically of lighter build in order to avoid damaging wayward vehicles (an activity highway cones positively enjoy) and have different habitats. These cones, whose colors vary across the red-orange spectrum, can usually be found on flat concrete or asphalt areas arranged in ritualistic patterns that defy analysis to the ground-based observer. Typically, they will have attracted the attention of a nearby driving instructor, who will use them to confuse the living daylights out of any unwary student who crosses their path.
It is the ambition of all DI cones to achieve that pinnacle of cone status the Car Commercial. DI cones can often be found talking avidly about such matters as slo-mo footage, desert lighting, Dramatic Splash techniques and Professional Drivers and How To Avoid Them. DI cones that do appear in such commercials may sometimes find themselves abandoned in the desert after filming to await the next appearance; this is not as much of a problem as it might sound since cones are remarkably durable. Excessive sun, however, can crack their surfaces. This is a risk that DI cones appear eager to take for the chance to appear on television and, if lucky, collect residuals.
Hunting and Capturing
As mentioned above, there are various methods of snaring the elusive Cone. The Drive-By Coning, while risky, has the advantage of being quick with a getaway (to avoid retribution from outraged cone kin) built-in. The Stealth Cone Grab, however, has much going for it. To pull this off requires patience, knowledge of local terrain and local Cone specimens' behavior, and usually some passive defenses such as conoflage.
In any case, captured cones should be treated with care. Some examples will emit foul odors if captured, such as New Plastic or Gasoline Spill. Others will mark any surface they are laid on with large black rubber smears. Always make sure you have a suitable environment in which to place the captured cones before attempting the hunt.