25th of February 2019: While coming back from our Dive Against Debris, we found a dying Nautilus in the harbor. We almost couldn’t believe our own eyes. A NAUTILUS?!
The nautilus is a mollusc that lives in the deep, down to 700 meters. So what was it doing at the surface? We quickly retrieved it and we could see that it had lost the front part of its body. It looked like it had been hit by a propeller. When we brought it back, everyone in the dive shop was ecstatic overseeing their first nautilus.
Since then we’ve dissected it and our Lead Scientist, Andre Saputra, and our past Academic Intern, Tomas Reid, have written a scientific paper about our finding. In the paper, they are discussing possible causes of the appearance of a nautilus on the surface and the causes of death.
“Nautilus is currently only known to inhabit the deep slopes of coral reefs in the Indo-pacific region. However, there is no record of a resident Nautilus population around the Gili Islands. This sighting reveals the potential for a new discovery of a Nautilus habitat in the Indonesian region.”
Curious for some quick Nautilus facts?
- They are in the same family as octopus, cuttlefish, and squid, but is the only one to have a shell.
- They have up to 90 tentacles, but no suckers.
- They move through jet propulsion.
- The nautilus uses chambers in its shell, which it floats and empties, to adjust buoyancy.
- They have bad eyesight and it thought to find its prey through smell. They feed on crustaceans, fish and even other nautiluses.
- They have a lifespan of 15-20 years and only become sexually mature after 10-15 years.
- Threats to the nautilus include over-harvesting, habitat loss, and climate change.