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Nature & Environment

Rare nautilus spotted off Papua New Guinea

By T.K. Randall
August 30, 2015 · Comment icon 7 comments

A specimen of the more common Nautilus pompilius variety. Image Credit: J. Baecker
An extremely rare species of cephalopod has been spotted again for the first time in over three decades.
Allonautilus scrobiculatus, an extremely rare species of nautilus that exhibits a distinctive furry appearance, was spotted for the first and only time all the way back in 1984.

Now however University of Washington biologist Peter Ward, who was one of two scientists involved in the creature's original discovery, has finally observed a second specimen after spending a long time searching for it in the warm oceans off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

To find it, Ward and his team set up a "bait on a stick" system each night to attract the elusive creatures which live at a depth of between 500 and 1,300 feet below the surface of the sea.
"This is kind of like a holy grail, at least in what I do," he said. "It takes a lot of push to put anything in a wholly new and different genus [and] this is one of the newest animals on the planet."

The unusual looking species, which lives inside a shell and possesses a number of tendrils that protrude from the front of its body, is often thought of as a "living fossil".

"This could be the rarest animal in the world," said Ward. "We need to know if Allonautilus is anywhere else, and we wonít know until we go out there and look."

Source: Huffington Post | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
"It's only near this tiny island," said Ward. "This could be the rarest animal in the world." I wonder what they taste like.....
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
I wonder what they taste like..... A cross between rhino and bald eagle. Or so I've heard.....
Comment icon #3 Posted by jarjarbinks 7 years ago
The real question is "would you swim naked around that thing ?"
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
One thing I was wondering about is how do we know this isn't just a diseased specimen of the more common appearance nautilus? Seems to me a birth defect, or some virus it picked up while young could cause the animal to look like it does. So you're left with the choice of "Capture it and dissect it, and KNOW if it is a new species... Knowing that it may be one of only a handful alive. Or just go off the visual observation and GUESS if it is a new species or not.
Comment icon #5 Posted by monkeyman2269 7 years ago
And what the feed it killed it
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ozfactor 7 years ago
wow , I love the nautilus and this is a great discovery . great post x
Comment icon #7 Posted by Father Merrin 7 years ago
I wonder what they taste like..... Thats my thought on most things in life

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