Nautilus Facts

Nautilus Facts
Nautilus is a cephalopod and a close relative of octopuses and squids. This animal can be found in the tropical waters of Indian and Pacific oceans, near the coast of Fiji, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia…Nautilus prefers life near the coral reefs, on a depth between 900 and 2000 feet. Major factor that affects survival of nautilus in the wild is overfishing. People collect nautiluses because of their beautiful shells that are sold as ornament. Nautilus is not listed as endangered species due to lack of data (number of remaining animals in the wild is unknown).
Interesting Nautilus Facts:
Nautilus can reach 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Its shell is white to orange in color and covered with brown stripes. Inner side of the shell is pearly.
Shell is divided in chambers. Nautilus is born with 4, but it expands number of chambers throughout a lifetime. Adult nautilus usually has more than 30 chambers. Animal is located in the newest and the largest chamber.
Chambers of the shell are filled with gas and water. By changing the amount of gas, nautilus adjusts its buoyancy.
Nautilus moves by jet-propulsion. It ejects huge amount of water through a siphon. Position of the siphon determines in which direction nautilus will travel: backward, forward, upward or downward.
Nautilus has 90 long tentacles, located outside the shell. Tentacles are covered with ridges and grooves which facilitate manipulation of prey.
Nautilus has a parrot-like beak which slices the food roughly. Another organ, called radula, grinds the food before swallowing.
Nautilus hunts and eats crabs, shrimps and fish. It also feeds on dead animals.
Unlike other cephalopods, nautilus has poor eyesight. Eyes are able to distinguish light from dark. Luckily, their sense of smell is well developed and used for finding of food.
Nautilus spends the day deep on the sea bottom. It moves toward the shallow water to find food when the sun goes down.
Main predators of nautilus are sharks, turtles and octopuses. In the case of danger, nautilus will hide in the shell and close it with leathery hood. Unfortunately, large predators are able to penetrate the shell.
Nautiluses mate once per year. Couple of tentacles in males act as sexual organ which delivers sperm packages into the female's body.
Female fertilizes the eggs and releases them one after another. Eggs are large (1 inch in diameter) and leathery. Incubation period lasts 9 to 12 months.
Males are more numerous in the nature (75% of males vs. 25% of females). Scientists are not sure why this happens.
Nautiluses are living fossils. They are living on the planet 500 million years without any changes in their appearance. Nautiluses inhabited the Earth 265 million years before dinosaurs appeared.
Nautilus has a long lifespan. It can survive more than 15 years in the wild.

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