Nautilus – An Ancient Creature Survives 500 Million Years

Photo credit :[IG]@Diveivanov

Nautilus is a group of sea animals that have a visible shell. It is are invertebrates, mollusks, and cephalopods related to octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. The shell acts as a protective part for Nautilus. It can withdraw into the shell in case of an emergency. So the creature gets sealed with a fleshy trapdoor called a hood.


The shell is beautiful and it makes Nautilus special. The shell can grow up to 8-10 inches in diameter. The underside of the shell is white in color and has brown stripes on the upper side. The color well blends with the habitat of Nautilus. The shells of adults are well grown and have the shape of a logarithmic spiral. It contains more than 30 chambers. Their body is located in the biggest outermost chamber. The remaining chambers are ballast tanks. They help Nautilus to maintain buoyancy.

Tentacles of nautilus are called cirri. It is long, flexible, and soft appendages. Nautilus has several tentacles.

Nautilus has poor vision. They have two big but primitive pinhole eyes.  The smell is the primary sense for nautilus which helps them to find potential mates. All eyes contain a fleshy papilla under them that helps detection of prey. Nautilus uses tentacles to grip the prey. Then beak helps to rip the prey into shreds. The way how nautilus move is very interesting. It uses jet propulsion. Water fills into the mantle cavity. It forced out the siphon to propel the creature forward, sideways, and backward.

You will find several species in the Nautilidae family. The largest species among them is N. repertus that has a shell measuring from 8 to 10 inches in diameter. The smallest one is bellybutton Nautilus.


Nautilus eat dead crustaceans, fish, and other organisms including Nautilus. They like to prey on hermit crabs and dig in the soft sediments on the sea bed to search for small prey pieces.


Nautiluses need more than 10 or 15 years to be sexually mature. They want warmer tropical water to mate.


Nautilus is not regarded as a threatened or endangered species. There are certain diseases related to nautilus.

Climate change is one of the major threats for Nautilus just like other animals. The increase in the acidity of the ocean adversely affects the formation of calcium carbonated-based shells.

Overfishing causes a drop in the Nautilus population. These creatures are hunted using baited traps and sold as live specimens, shells, and meat. Handicrafts, jewelry, buttons, and other beautiful statues are made using the shell. The live animals are collected and displayed in aquariums and used for scientific researches.


A Nautilus can live for about 15-20 years. It is considered as the cephalopod having the longest-living.

How can we help to conserve Nautilus?

Though Nautilus is not included in the extinction or endangered lists, it is our duty to protect this creature on behalf of mother nature. We can avoid buying pieces of jewelry made with Nautilus shells. It is our duty to protect this beautiful creature.


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