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nautilus necropsy - not for the faint of heart...

robyn

Vampyroteuthis
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Jan 19, 2007
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Well Number 1 didn't make it, unfortunately. Here's a pictorial tour of the necropsy my adviser and I did this morning. Alas I was unable to capture the smell in the photos!!

Starting: Mantle tissue had separated from the shell.
 

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The blackened shell is highly abnormal.
 

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:shock: So the shell was ruptured? Do you think it was an injury or caused by pressure from the swelling? It would have to be a lot of pressure, because the septum is pretty strong, as I recall. Was it a new septum, or was it thinner than usual? Do you think the septum was dissolved away by the infection? It just looks like it would smell horrible :yuck:.

No wonder he couldn't regulate her bouyancy...
 
The mantle tissue is swollen, as are the gills, and there is weird mucus-y stuff being secreted from the tentacles and the funnel. The eye, hood and tentacles don't appear to be swollen though. That's my advisor (I'm a grad student) doing the up-close-and-particularly-stinky work!
 

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Most of the organs appear normal, although there is a considerable amount of gas in the body cavity.
 

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The ventral view shows the gill swelling. The beak is normal, just here for entertainment!

Anyway, I hope these are enlightening.
 

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cuttlegirl;93178 said:
:shock: So the shell was ruptured? Do you think it was an injury or caused by pressure from the swelling? It would have to be a lot of pressure, because the septum is pretty strong, as I recall. Was it a new septum, or was it thinner than usual? Do you think the septum was dissolved away by the infection? It just looks like it would smell horrible :yuck:.

No wonder he couldn't regulate his bouyancy...

The septum was the most recent, so probably pretty thin. It could have been either from the pressure or as a result of infection - difficult to tell. It must have been very uncomfortable to live in, though.

The siphuncle had completely disintegrated. Again, I couldn't tell if it was functional while the animal was still alive or not.

She was pretty stinky!!
 
Are you going to get any of the gunge cultured? It would be interesting to know what was going on in there.

It's awful that you lost Number one, but you may get a paper out of it. Some consolation (not much I know).


J
 
Wow....That is a first for me seeing the interior of a Nautilus. Poor thing. From the looks of what he had, I bet he was very uncomfortable. The black seems to me maybe infection because of whatever happened to his shell?
 
Fascinating pictures, although it's sad to think how much that infection would have impacted the animal. It's strange to wonder how applicable it is to anthropomorphise an animal whose brain evolved independently from our own, but I can't help but assume that they evolved a similar capacity to experience suffering.

Is the body usually that transparent?
 
Check for sequestration vs pigmentation, just for fun. The swelling might be secondary, as is true for most animals, most of the time (cytokine mediated immune response or blocking of efferent structures), I would suggest.

OMG, I just realized I have no proper understanding of cephalopods' humoral and cellular immune response, whatsoever :shock:
 

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