Cephalopods are a successful group of shellfish that first appeared around 500 million years ago. Some became extinct at the same time that dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago. Two of these extinct groups, ammonites and belemnites, have been found fossilised in New Zealand rocks. Nautilus species are not found around New Zealand, although on rare occasion empty shells of chambered (pearly) nautilus wash ashore. Their shells are hard and quite different from those of the paper nautilus, which is an octopus.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Artwork by Bruce Mahalski
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