Nautilus pompilius   Linnaeus,  1758 (Sea Snail)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Cephalopoda

Image copyrights: FAO

Size: Max length 22.2 cm SHD (male)

Max. weight reported: 1,675 g

The body of the animal consists of head which bears eyes, a system of tentacles and a sac-like visceral mass. Arms are absent, funnel is bilobed. Mouth is situated at the end of the head and surrounded by foot with two sets of lappets forming an inner and an outer circle. The edges of the circles are beset with numerous, small, thin and annulated retractile tentacles. The tentacles are devoid of suckers and are adhesive in nature. A special fleshy hood used for closing the last chamber as an operculum is present above the head region. Arms and suckers are absent. A portion of the tentacle crown which involves four tentacles of the lappets on the right side is modified to form the spadix. The body is enclosed in an external calcareous, spirally coiled and multichambered shell. The animal occupies the last chamber which is the largest; the inner surface of the chamber is pearly and the outer surface procellanous and pigmented with wavy reddish brown bands on whitish background. The colour markings on the shell are very conspicuous.

Sexes are separate.

Synonym (s)
Nautilus pompilius pompilius Linnaeus, 1758
(Senior synonym)
Nautilus pompilius suluensis Habe & Okutani, 1988
(Junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Chambered nautilius (English)
• Emperor nautilus (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Prey:  Crustaceans, molluscs
Predator:  Crabs, finfishes, molluscs


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Vedalai INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Tikadar, BK; Daniel, A and Subbarao, NV (1986) Sea shore animals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Director, ZSI, Kolkatta 188 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Subba Rao, NV and Dey, A (2000) Catalogue of marine molluscs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Occasional paper no 187 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI 1-323 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Fernando, AS and Fernando, OJ (2002) A field guide to the common invertebrates of the east coast of India Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology 1-258 Available at - NIO, RC Kochi
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Sealifebase Available at -
  • Sundaram, KS; Sarvesan, R; Mohamed, KH and Shanbhogue, SL (1969) Catalogue of molluscs, prawns, stomatopods and marine algae in the reference collections of the central marine fisheries research institute Bulletin Of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 9 1-52 Available at -
  • Silas, EG; Sarvesan, R; Rao, KS; Nair, KP and Meiyappan, MM (1985) Identity of common species of cephalopods of India Cephalopod bionomics, fisheries and resources of the exclusive economic zone of India Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 37 13-37 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-05-04

Back to Search