Story: Octopus and squid

Living and extinct cephalopods

Living and extinct cephalopods

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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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff and Steve O’Shea, 'Octopus and squid - Head-footed animals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 9 June 2023)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff and Steve O’Shea, published 12 Jun 2006