The Chambered Nautilus Nautilus pompilius also known as the ‘pearly nautilus’ is the best known species of nautilus in the oceans. These animals are a species of cephalopod (like squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses), which means ‘head-foot’ because the animal’s feet are attached directly to the head. The Chambered Nautilus can be found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.
The Nautilus is the only cephalopod that has a fully developed shell for protection. Unlike snails, the spiraled shell of the nautilus is divided into chambers with the animal occupying the outermost chamber. A newly hatched nautilus begins life with about four chambers and develops an average of 30 chambers by adulthood. The inner chambers are filled with gas and help the nautilus to maintain neutral buoyancy. The nautilus adds liquid to the chambers in order to dive.
Another fact that separates the nautilus from other cephalopod species is its tentacles. A nautilus can have 90 tentacles which it uses to touch, taste, and feel the world around it. That’s the most of any cephalopod species!
The nautilus is considered to be a “living fossil,” as it has undergone little change in more than 150 million years. While most other cephalopod species don’t live very long, the nautilus can live for 20 years, becoming mature after 5-10 years of age!