Skip to main content

Chambered Nautilus

Nautilus pompilius
The Nautilida Order contains six extant species and a handful of extinct ones, some of which date all the way back around 550 million years. They are primitive Cephalopods that often are given the "living fossil" moniker-- they have changed very little over the past several million years.

The Chambered Nautilus is perhaps the best known of the bunch. They are large in size (one subspecies reaches just under a foot in shell diameter) and have a very widespread distribution across the Pacific.

The shell of the Chambered Nautilus is covered in dark and light stripes-- a coloration pattern that camouflages them. The shell serves as protection, and also helps with buoyancy  as the Nautilus can fill and empty out different pockets with gas. As they grow, the shell gains new chambers, and full grown adults will have around 30 different compartments.

Aside from the shell, the Chambered Nautilus displays several other interesting traits. For one, they have no lenses or corneas in their eyes. Secondly, they have around 90 tentacles, none of which have suckers (something most other Cephalopods have).

The Chambered Nautilus is a very slow growing creatures. They are between 15 and 20 years old before they reach sexual maturity. Reproduction takes place internally, with four of the males' tentacles forming a part called the spandix. They use this to transfer a spermatophore mass to the female. The mass attaches to the female's mantle and releases the sperm. Newly hatched babies have shells that measure about 1in in diameter.

Back during the Renaissance, Chambered Nautilus shells were very popular with artists and collectors. They would attach the shells to metal stems, forming decorative cups. Some got exceptionally elaborate-- like this piece using guilt silver that looks like an Ostrich!

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Pacific Ocean
Size : Shell Diameter up to 10in (25cm)
Classification : Phylum : Mollusca -- Class : Cephalopoda -- Order : Nautilida
Family : Nautilidae -- Genus : Nautilus -- Species : N. pompilius


Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!


The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe