, Volume 102, Issue 1, pp 65-72

Timing of septal formation in two species of Nautilus based on radiometric and aquarium data

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Growth rates of four Nautilus scrobiculatus Lightfoot and three N. pompilius Linnaeus captured in Papua New Guinea in 1985 were measured using a chronology based on the naturally occurring radionuclides 210Pb and 210Po. The age of the las septum in mature specimens of both species was more than one year, whereas the time of septal formation in a submature specimen of N. pompilius was ca 180 d. The 210Po/210Pb method was also used to determine the growth rates of four immature N. pompilius captured in the Philippines in 1983 before and after introduction into an aquarium. Introduction into the aquarium was marked by a dramatic decrease in the activity of 210Pb of the septa, the formation of a black line on the exterior of the shell, and a reduction in the spacing of adjacent septa in two specimens. Based on the number of septa formed in the aquarium, the average time of septal formation ranged from 50 to 80 d. These estimates were consistent with those calculated from the 210Po/210Pb activity ratios of the septa that formed in the aquarium, thus providing a check on the radiometric method. The average time of septal formation just prior to introduction into the aquarium appears, within the uncertainty of the radioactive measurements, to have been similar to that in the aquarium, indicating no dramatic alteration in the growth rate of these specimens.

Communicated by J. Grassle, Woods Hole