Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-684bc48f8b-4z9h4 Total loading time: 1.849 Render date: 2021-04-11T04:17:57.908Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Article contents

Genetic divergence and geographic diversification in Nautilus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 February 2016

Charles G. Wray
Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 621 Circle Drive South, Los Angeles, California 90024
Neil H. Landman
Department of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at Seventy-ninth Street, New York, New York 10024
W. Bruce Saunders
Department of Geology, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
James Bonacum
Department of Biology, Yale University, Osborne Memorial Laboratory, New Haven, Connecticut 06520


Despite exhaustive investigation of present-day Nautilus, the phylogenetic relationships of the five or six recognized species within this genus remain unclear. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data plus a suite of morphological characters are used to investigate phylogenetic relationships. Systematic analysis of the morphological variation fails to characterize described species as independent lineages. However, DNA sequence analysis indicates that there are three geographically distinct clades consisting of western Pacific, eastern Australian/Papua-New Guinean, and western Australian/Indonesian forms. The morphologically and genetically distinct species Nautilus scrobiculatus falls outside the three geographically recognized assemblages. Members of the genus Nautilus also exhibit low levels of sequence divergence. All these data suggest that Nautilus is currently undergoing diversification, which may have begun only several million years ago. These data also suggest that some of the morphological features used to define Nautilus species may simply represent fixed variations in isolated populations within the same species.

Research Article
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Avise, J. C., Arnold, J., Ball, R. M., Bermingham, E., Lamb, T., Neigel, J. E., Reeb, C. A., and Saunders, N. C. 1987. Intraspecific phylogeography: the mitochondrial bridge between population genetics and systematics. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 18:489522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bremer, K. 1988. The limits of amino-acid sequence data in angiosperm phylogenetic reconstruction. Evolution 42:795803.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cochran, J. K., and Landman, N. H. 1984. Radiometric determination of the growth rate of Nautilus in nature. Nature (London) 308:725727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, J. I., and Nixon, K. C. 1992. Populations, genetic variation and the delimitation of phylogenetic species. Systematic Biology 41:421435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eernisse, D. J., and Kluge, A. G. 1993. Taxonomic congruence versus total evidence, and amniote phylogeny inferred from fossils, molecules and morphology. Molecular Biology and Evolution 10:11701195.Google ScholarPubMed
Felsenstein, J. 1992. Phylip program. University of Washington.Google Scholar
Geller, J. B., Carlton, J. T., and Powers, D. A. 1993. Interspecific and intrapopulation variation in mitochondrial ribosomal DNA sequences of Mytilus spp. (Bivalvia: Mollusca). Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology 2:4450.Google Scholar
Hillis, D. M., and Moritz, C., eds. 1990. Molecular systematics. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
Jacobs, D. K., and Landman, N. H. 1993. Nautilus—a poor model for the function and behavior of ammonoids? Lethaia 26:101111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kluge, A. G. 1989. A concern for evidence and a phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships among Epicrates (Boidae, Serpentes). Systematic Zoology 38:725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kummel, B. 1956. Post-Triassic nautiloid genera. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 114:324469.Google Scholar
Lieberman, B. S., Allmon, W. D., and Eldredge, N. 1993. Levels of selection and macroevolutionary patterns in the turritellid gastropods. Paleobiology 19:205215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mangold, K. 1987. Reproduction. Pp. 157200in Boyle, P. R., ed. Cephalopod life cycles, Vol. II. Comparative reviews. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
Martin, A. P., Naylor, J. P., and Palumbi, S. R. 1992. Rates of mitochondrial DNA evolution in sharks are slow compared with mammals. Nature (London) 357:153156.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Moritz, C., Dowling, T. E., and Brown, W. M. 1987. Evolution of animal mitochondrial DNA: relevance for population biology and systematics. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 18:269292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Dor, R. K., Forsythe, J., Webber, D. M., Wells, J., and Wells, M. J. 1993. Activity levels of Nautilus in the wild. Nature (London) 362:626628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Palumbi, S. R., and Kessing, B. D. 1991. Population biology of the trans-arctic exchange: mtDNA sequence similarity between Pacific and Atlantic sea urchins. Evolution 45:17901805.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saitou, N., and Nei, M. 1987. The neighbor-joining method: a new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Molecular Biology and Evolution 4:406425.Google ScholarPubMed
Saunders, W. B. 1981a. A new species of Nautilus from Palau. Veliger 24:17.Google Scholar
Saunders, W. B. 1981b. The species of living Nautilus and their distribution. Veliger 24:817.Google Scholar
Saunders, W. B. 1987. The species of Nautilus. Pp. 3552in Saunders, and Landman, 1987.Google Scholar
Saunders, W. B., and Landman, N. H., eds. 1987. Nautilus: the biology and paleobiology of a living fossil. Plenum, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saunders, W. B., and Ward, P. D. 1987. Sympatric occurrence of living Nautilus (N. pompilius and N. stenomphalus) on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Nautilus 101:188193.Google Scholar
Shackleton, N. J. 1987. Oxygen isotopes, ice volume and sea level. Quaternary Science Reviews 6:183190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shimansky, V. N. 1957. Noviy predstaveli otryada Nautilida v SSSR. Paleontolgisti Institut Materialy Osnovum Paleontologi 1:3544.Google Scholar
Swan, A. R. H., and Saunders, W. B. 1987. Morphological variation in Nautilus from Papua New Guinea. Pp. 85103in Saunders, and Landman, 1987.Google Scholar
Swofford, D. 1991. PAUP program and documentation, version 3.0s.Google Scholar
Teichert, C., and Matsumoto, T. 1987. The ancestry of the genus Nautilus. Pp. 2534in Saunders, and Landman, 1987.Google Scholar
Toneguzzo, F., Glynn, S., Levi, E., Mjolsness, S., and Hayday, A. 1988. Use of a chemically modified T7 DNA polymerase for manual and automated sequencing of supercoiled DNA. BioTechniques 6:460469.Google ScholarPubMed
Ward, P. D. 1987. The natural history of Nautilus. Allen and Unwin, Boston.Google Scholar
Ward, P. D. 1984. Is Nautilus a living fossil? Pp. 247256in Eldredge, N. and Stanley, S. M., eds. Living fossils. Springer, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ward, P. D. 1985. Periodicity of chamber formation in chambered cephalopods: evidence from Nautilus macromphalus and Nautilus pompilius. Paleobiology 11:438450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watrous, L. E., and Wheeler, Q. D. 1981. The out-group method of character analysis. Systematic Zoology 30:111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Woodruff, D. S., Carpenter, M. P., Saunders, W. B., and Ward, P. D. 1987. Genetic variation and phylogeny in Nautilus. Pp. 6583in Saunders, and Landman, 1987.Google Scholar
Wray, C. G., Lee, J. J., and DeSalle, R. 1993. Extraction and enzymatic characterization of foraminiferal DNA. Micropaleontology 31:6973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 14 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 11th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Genetic divergence and geographic diversification in Nautilus
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Genetic divergence and geographic diversification in Nautilus
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Genetic divergence and geographic diversification in Nautilus
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *