Sunny Side Up

Gratitude & Happiness

Nemo’s Nemesis?

on April 16, 2015

N is for Nautilus.

Some of you may have never heard of this amazing undersea animal. For those who have heard the word before, perhaps you only know it from its association in literature as Captain Nemo‘s ship in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, written in 1870 by Jules Verne. Check out this beautiful, relaxing video as an introduction to this unique shelled being.

I have always been fascinated by the continuing spiral pattern found on the inside of this creature’s shell and what it is thought to represent. The myths, legends and symbolism attributed to it never really occurred to me before. As someone who enjoyed playing on the beach and collecting shells, I just enjoyed the nautilus for the tiger striped pattern on the outside and the pearlescent beauty hidden beneath. More intriguing, I think, is that these creatures have been around for over 500 million years!

Other interesting facts about the nautilus:

Scientific name – Nautilus belauensis, Latin form of the original Greek, ‘sailor.’

  • It is a mollusk, invertebrate and cephalopod. (This means it has a soft body, no spine, and is related to the octopus and squid. Although it has more tentacles than they do.)
  • Lives in the Indo Pacific, and can survive at a depth of up to 800 metres before imploding.
  • Eat crustaceans – lobsters, crabs, shrimp. Their prey sticks to the ridged surface of up to 90 long and retractable tentacles.
  • The shell consists of inner chambers in a whorl pattern, defined by thin walls. As it grows it moves into a new chamber, sealing the old. The chambers increase from 4 at birth to about 30.
  • Nautiluses use jet propulsion to swim, by drawing water in and out of their chambers. Cool!
  • Almost blind, they have poor vision and see only through a pinhole eye. Instead they use two pairs of  grooved tentacles near their eyes for smelling.
  • At its largest, it can grow to be 7.9 inches and can live for up to 20 years.

Here is another video to enjoy.

Next time you visit an aquarium, don’t forget to say hello. 🙂



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