The Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) also called the Pearly Nautilus. It is a marine mollusc (mollusk) and a cephalopod (related to the squid and the octopus).
The Chambered Nautilus is similar to a squid, but with an external shell. It has about 90 tentacles, called cirri. The tentacles do not have suckers (like the octopus). The eye of the Chambered Nautilus has no lens.
The shell of the Chambered Nautilus (photographed here without the tentacled animal inside) is made of nacre (the same material as pearls). It is in the shape of an equi-angular spiral. To avoid predators, the shell is camouflaged with the darkness of the sea and the light from above.
The animal is firmly attached to its shell, and does not come out of its shell (like hermit crabs).
It can grow to about 16 centimetres (6 inches) long.
The Chambered Nautilus feeds on fish and crabs. It is a scavenger. It has a pair of rhinophores near each eye, which can detect chemicals in the water. Therefore, it uses olfaction and chemotaxis to find their food. It captures food in its tentacles.
It is found in the oceans off the coasts of Australia, Japan, and Micronesia in the South Pacific, and off the coast of Kenya. It lives in shallow coral reefs.
It can live for about 20 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM