Need your help for science


Dec 24, 2005

I am a masters student at the University of Oklahoma looking at multiple stable isotopes from shell material. I haven't had any problem finding gastropods, bivalves, etc. but I have had little luck in acquiring nautilus and cuttlefish specimens. That's when I remembered this board. I signed up a long time ago to look up information on keeping cuttlefish but never ended up getting any. Now I'm hoping that some of you can help me with my research. What I'm looking for is:

1. Wild caught nautilus or cuttlefish. I already have several species of N. pompillus from the Philippines but I can't find anyone as of yet who can point me in the direction of other species or anybody who supplies wild caught cuttlefish.

2. Any tank raised or born nautilus or cuttlefish. These won't tell me anything about the oceans but will still be useful. If anyone has an animal that dies and can be quickly frozen and then mailed to me I could set up a paypal account and pay them for shipping and a small handling fee. The animals would have to be relatively large, meaning a fully grown S. bandensis and up as I need enough shell material to process and run on our isotope machine.

If anyone can help or point me in the direction of someone that can assist me, I'd be very grateful. I can probably even give you an acknowledgement at the end of my thesis.



Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Dec 20, 2002
There is almost no such beast as a tank raised Nautilus. Three aquariums have hatched viable eggs but as far as I know none of them have yet been able to raise the offspring to maturity.

It's expensive and cost prohibitive to raise cuttlefish commercially for food. You might get some help here from hobbyists. The NRCC raises them for biomedical and educational use, their current status is complicated. There are no native cuttles here in the Excited States, colleagues in Asia and Eu have them but international shipping of animal material is no fun.

Possible Solutions:

As much as I hate to suggest this due to environmental/overfishing concerns, every nautilus shell in every shell shop is from a wild caught animal. You can ID to species with the shell.

As for cuttlefish, the most cost effective way to obtain their cuttlebones is to go to a pet shop that carries bird supplies. They should be cheap and have a good selection. ID is very likely a Sepia of some sort. Here is an example:

If you or if you need a fresh frozen animal with flesh and all these ideas won't work. If not, they will be a lot more cost and effort friendly.

As for keeping cuttlefish, see: I'm sure there are good articles on about keeping cuttles TONMO as well. This site has grown a lot over the years.