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Chambered Nautilus

on July 31, 2007
Aquarium Guide - Mini
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To keep itself afloat and upright, the chambered nautilus has a tube called a siphuncle that runs down the center of each chamber and releases a gas, maintaining a density close to that of sea water. This allows the chambered nautilus to swim about with a minimum of effort. The information for this design was part of God’s provision for this creature at its creation; this feature did not evolve.


  • The spiral-shaped shell of the nautilus has a pattern of brown and white.
  • The creature creates up to 30 different chambers within its shell that it will occupy as it grows. A tough hood protects the nautilus where its body connects to its shell.

Fun Facts

  • This species is probably the most common nautilus.
  • The chambered nautilus also has small tentacles that it uses to swim or pull itself along rocks.
  • In the daytime it descends about 2,000 ft (610 m) into the deep and at night it rises to a depth of 300–500 ft (90–150 m) to feed.
  • The nautilus has an unusually long life span for a cephalopod; it may live for more than 15 years.

CLASS: Cephalopoda (octopuses and squids)

ORDER: Nautilida (nautilus)

FAMILY: Nautilidae (chambered nautilus)

GENUS/SPECIES: Nautilus pompilius

Size: Up to 8 in (20 cm) long

Depth: Up to 1,640 ft (500 m)

Diet: Crabs and shrimp

Habitat: In the water column where the slopes of coral reefs descend into deep waters

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