Septum morphology and bathymetry in cephalopods Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Nautilus pompilius at Fiji lives abundantly to about 600 m depth while the shell implodes between 730–900 m when sunk in a cage. From this, and the average parameters of the septum, its tensile strength is calculated to 110–140 MPa. This is markedly higher than the latest value from direct tensile tests (78 MPa). In recent pressure tests by Saunders and Wehman with dry shells from the Philippines, implosion occurred at pressure equivalents to 310–680 m depth, without significant correlation with septal thickness. We attribute this excessive range and non-correlation to structural damage by postnecrotic processes. The recalculated tensile strength from their original data is 56–137 MPa; the higher values are compatible with our values for septal nacre of Nautilus and Spirula (c. 155 MPa). Septal curvature and thickness in orthocones thus remain useful guides to bathymetry.

publication date

  • 1980