FEEDING! The chambered Nautilus is a mollusk, related to the octopus, squid, clam and snail. A nautilus, along with the cuttlefish, squid, and octopus, are all cephalopods, meaning “head-foot,” so named because the feet (tentacles) are attached to the head.
The nautilus is the only cephalopod that has a fully developed shell for protection. The nautilus has more than 90 suckerless tentacles. Grooves and ridges on the tentacles are used to grip prey and deliver food to a crushing, parrot-like beak. NEWS: This fascinating animal is now on the list of protected species. Quite rightly of course. Of all the squid-species the “Chambered Nautilus” is the only one with a beautiful outer shell. This shell is used for jewelry which is a popular souvenir for tourists. The Nautilus lives at great depth (200 m) but must go to the surface to eat. This makes it extremely vulnerable to its main predator: humans.

Little Known Countries:

St. Cristophe and the Hyades - A South American island country consisting of St. Cristophe (the main archipelago) and the Hyades (the surrounding sparsely inhabited islands). They were a UK colony up until 1957 when they won their independence by non-violent means. UK officials were constantly given incorrect coordinates as to the location of the country and this fooled them long enough for the people to write an official declaration of independence while imprisoning officials already on the Island. The UK silently pulled out of the country without any fuss as they didn’t want anyone talking about what an international embarrassment they are.

Tasilimo! - The only country left with an exclamation point in its name, Tasilimo! is located off the coast of New Zealand. Tasilimo! has a small population of 549, but has one of the most linguistically diverse populations in the world. All 549 inhabitant of Tasilimo speak their own language, and this has caused longstanding tension between the inhabitants. At the moment, Tasilimo! is going through a brutal civil war between each citizen in the country. Peace talks have largely failed because nobody can tell what the fuck anyone is saying.

Shadow Albania - Shadow Albania is located in the Balkan Peninsula right next to Albania. The country is unique in that it’s the only country that based its border on another country. It has the same shape as vanilla Albania, but it roughly half the size. Shadow Albania has very similar historical origins as Albania, yet there is tension between the two countries as Shadow Albania considers itself “darker, edgier, and more mature” than vanilla Albania, going so far as to ban immigration from vanilla Albania as they consider Albanians to be “motherfuckers”. Shadow Albania still subscribes to a version of extreme Hoxhaism, and the country’s geological makeup has all but been destroyed to make room for bunkers. So much of Shadow Albania’s GDP goes towards building bunkers that its economy is failing, yet it is perhaps the most safe country to be in, in the case of nuclear war.

Ohio - Sometimes mistakenly thought to be an American state, Ohio won its Independence in 1992 when its entire human populace all but disappeared, only to be replaced with odd mollusk like creatures. Ohio is the only country in the world with a population of zero. Its capital is Cleveland, a bizarre desolate wasteland made up mostly of row houses and geological disappointment. Its national motto is “I wish I was anywhere, but Ohio” and its main exports are transients and nuclear waste.


Discover the science of snails with Scientists Live!

Tim Pearce, assistant curator of the Section of Mollusks, showed off pieces of Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s hidden collection and answered questions in a live broadcast this month on Facebook!

This broadcast is part of the new web series Scientists Live. Check the museum’s Facebook page for more broadcasts featuring different scientists and topics.

What’s a seamount? 

Seamounts are mountains on the ocean floor that don’t reach sea level, generally formed from extinct volcanoes. Davidson Seamount at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is 7,480 feet tall — yet its summit is still 4,101 feet below the sea surface! This “oasis in the deep” is home to several unidentified deep-sea organisms, like this mollusk. 


Belcher’s Chorus Shell (Forreria Belcheri, Hinds 1843)

With Operculum and Barnacles

This is a genus of marine gastropod mollusks in the family Muricidae and is indigenous to the Pacific Coast of California. These specimens have an interesting history. When Pier 174 burned in Los Angeles Harbor in December of 1967, these shells attached to the wooden pilings. On a silt bottom, they fed on mussels. They were collected with SCUBA at 35′ in 1991. It normally lives in shallow protected water and it is not a common shell. Like other rock shells, it is carnivorous, using its file-like radula (from the Latin meaning “scraper”) to drill through shells of other kinds of mollusks.

Nudibranchs are wonderful marine slugs that come in a variety of astonishing colors and varieties. They are by far my favorite animal to see scuba diving!

This particular species, commonly referred to as a “Sea Lemon” (can you see why?) lives from California up to Alaska. It eats sea sponges and is both male and female! A crochet plush nudibranch would make the perfect gift for a marine biologist, a scuba diver, or anyone who loves sea creatures.


Among the roughly 1,400 species of land snails found in Cuba, those from the genus Polymita—that’s Latin for “many stripes”—are unique to the island nation. These tiny gastropods are quite aptly known as painted snails because of the variety of vibrant colors of their shells.

A dazzling array of painted snail specimens can be seen in the special exhibition ¡Cuba!, including Polymita picta, P. sulphurosa, P. versicolor, P. venusta, P. brochuri, and P. muscarum, all from the Museum’s collection.

Read more about these beautiful snails on the blog.