A section through the Pearly Nautilus, Nautilus pompilius, common from Malay to Fiji. The shell is often about 9 inches long. The animal lives in the last chamber only, but a tube (S) runs through the empty chambers, perforating the partitions (SE). The bulk of the animal is marked VM; the eye is shown at E; a hood is marked H; round the mouth there are numerous lobes (L) bearing protrusible tentacles, some of which are shown. When the animal is swimming near the surface the tentacles radiate out in all directions, and it has been described as "a shell with something like a cauliflower sticking out of it." The Pearly Nautilus is a good example of a conservative type, for it began in the Triassic Era. But the family of Nautiloids to which it belongs illustrates very vividly what is meant by a dwindling race. The Nautiloids began in the Cambrian, reached their golden age in the Silurian, and began to decline markedly in the Carboniferous. There are 2,500 extinct or fossil species of Nautiloids, and only 4 living to-day.
The Squill seems to form a connecting link between the last and present order. It is the only genus of the heterobranchial Crustacea in which [Pg 138]the eyes are placed on footstalks; the head, instead of being distinct, appears in a great measure drawn into the corslet. It has been called the Sea Mantis, from its bearing some resemblance to an insect of that name, on account of the singularly-formed hooks with which two of its foot-jaws are armed
“The body of this creature is covered with crustaceous or shelly plates, which overlap each other, and admit both of a lateral and vertical motion between them. Their ends do not meet on the side, but have sufficient space between them for the insertion and play of the organs of respiration. The rostrum, or beak, is short and pointed: it is a prolongation of the first segment which forms the head. A little above the beak, a single eye is imbedded beneath the shell, of a dark crimson colour, nearly approaching to blackness. The true form of this organ it is difficult to determine. Mr. Baker gives it the shape of two kidney-beans placed parallel to each other, and united at their lowest extremities. When viewed laterally, it appears round, while in some other positions it is square.”
The eggs are curiously placed in two bags, presenting an appearance similar to clusters of grapes, and of considerable magnitude, compared with the size of the animal. These egg-bags are seen in the engraving, (which represents a female,) projecting from each side of the hinder portion of the shell. The centre of each egg is of a deep opaque colour, which in some specimens is green, in others red.
The young of the Cyclops, when first excluded from the egg, are extremely minute, and so different from the mother, that Müller has described them as forming two distinct genera.