The crusty nautilus is one of the rarest animals in the world. It only appears once in a blue moon or in a blue ocean and it keeps on puzzling the curious eyes of scientists. Nautiluses are shelled cephalopods and distant relatives of squid and cuttlefish. They date back 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian Explosion and are described as “living fossils”, as they are among the few species which remained almost unchanged for millions of years.
Nautiluses are marine animals which move extremely slow and they are predators that mainly feed on small fish and crustaceans. They can be found in the tropical waters of Pacific and Indian oceans, close to the coast of Japan, New Caledonia, Fiji and Australia.
The creatures have a pretty peculiar shape and they look just as if a squid has taken up residence in a large shell. The rare species is unique, as it has a slimy coating on its shell. From pictures, it looks like a giant snail with eyes that replace the antennas and with colors which resemble to the shades of the Earth.
The latest sighting came after a team of researchers has tried to throw some bait on a stick. It was seen descending at between 500 and 1.300 feet below the surface.
Scientists have declared that we still have a lot to learn about these creatures, which are among the greatest living ancient subaquatic animals. Their distinctive shells appear in the fossil record over an impressive 500 million years’ time.
The last time researchers have managed to see a nautilus wandering in the depths of the ocean was in 1984, a time when the ocean was richer in food, the waters were clearer and the blue was bluer.
Biologist Peter Ward, one of the experts in the team of researchers, collected several specimens for analysis and has realized that their jaws, gills, shell shape and male reproductive structures are significantly different than other nautilus species. The analyzed exhibits belong to the Allonautilus scobiculatuss family and many months will pass until enlightened minds will manage do uncover some mysteries about the species.
After capturing the animals, researchers have brought them to the surface in order to obtain small tissue. They used the information to determine the age and sex of each animal and the diversity of each nautilus population in the South Pacific.
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