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Cephalopod aquarists film tiny chambered nautilus hatchlings

After incubating over 150 nautilus eggs for more than 14 months, Monterey Bay Aquarium cephalopod aquarists are filming these tiny, fully-formed baby chambered nautiluses as they hatch in the aquarium’s behind-the-scenes nursery. It’s a unique sight:

No one, for example, has seen a nautilus egg in the wild—perhaps because they’re laid at depths beyond where recreational scuba divers can safely go. They can range below 100 meters (330 feet deep)—but do the young develop in warmer waters, closer to the surface, or in cooler, deeper waters?

Aquarist Ellen Umeda is experimenting with the egg and hatchling nursery environments to determine what conditions—lighting, temperature, pressure, etc—might mimic their natural habitats in the Indo-Pacific, an endeavor that will help the mollusks thrive in captivity. These behind-the-scenes work areas give all of the aquarists the time and space to better understand what the animals in their care need.

A bit more about chambered nautiluses from aqua.org:

The nautilus is considered to be a “living fossil,” as it has undergone little change in more than 400 million years. The nautilus dominated the ancient seas before the rise of fishes, and appeared about 265 million years before the first dinosaurs. In prehistoric times, there were about 10,000 different species of the nautilus, but only a few species survived to the present.

Next, watch Squid: Coming to Life, captured in microscopic detail, a pacific razor clam burrowing rapidly into the sand, and lots of octopus videos.

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