CHAMBERED NAUTILUS } Nautilus pompilius
FAMILY: Nautilidae


HABITAT: The chambered nautilus lives in deep fore reefs (at about 330 feet to 2,300 feet) of the tropical Indo-Pacific.

RANGE: The species is native to the Indo-Pacific, including American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

MIGRATION: Movement among populations is limited because of physiological constraints and geographical barriers.

BREEDING: Most information about breeding is based on animals in captivity. Chambered nautiluses reproduce sexually. Females produce a relatively low number of eggs (10-20) per year, and gestation lasts about 10 to 12 months.

LIFE CYCLE: Chambered nautiluses grow slowly, at about one-tenth of an inch per month, and can live as long as 20 (or more) years, reaching maturity relatively late at around 14-16 years.

FEEDING: The chambered nautilus is a nekton-benthonic opportunistic scavenger with as many as 90 small oral tentacles that are used for feeding on fish, crustaceans, other invertebrates and detrital matter associated with deep benthic reef habitats.

THREATS: Strong overharvesting to fuel the international shell trade, habitat degradation, and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms are driving populations down.

POPULATION TREND: Unique populations in the Philippines have decline by 80 percent and been extirpated in other areas.

Nautilus photo by Greg J. Barord