noun \ˈn-tə-ləs, ˈnä-\
plural nau·ti·lus·es or nau·ti·li\-tə-ˌlī, -ˌlē\

Definition of NAUTILUS

:  any of a genus (Nautilus) of cephalopod mollusks of the South Pacific and Indian oceans with a spiral chambered shell that is pearly on the inside —called also chambered nautilus

Illustration of NAUTILUS

Origin of NAUTILUS

New Latin, from Latin, paper nautilus, from Greek nautilos, literally, sailor, from naus ship
First Known Use: 1601


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Chambered nautilus (Nautilus)—Douglas Faulkner

Either of two genera of cephalopods. The pearly, or chambered, nautilus (genus Nautilus) lives in the outermost chamber of its smooth, coiled, usually 36-chambered shell, about 10 in. (25 cm) in diameter. A connecting tube adjusts the gases in the chambers, allowing the shell to act as a float. Nautiluses search the ocean bottom for shrimp or other prey, which they capture with up to 94 small, suckerless, contractile tentacles. The paper nautilus (genus Argonauta) feeds on plankton near the surface of tropical and subtropical seas. The female resembles an octopus but has a thin, unchambered, coiled shell, 12–16 in. (30–40 cm) in diameter. The much smaller male has no shell.


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