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Nautilus spatial memory paper.


Jan 19, 2007
Hi all,

Finally another one the papers from my dissertation has been published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology (after spending almost a year in review!!). In it we showed both associative learning in a navigation task and memory of complex, three-dimensional space in cpatvie Nautilus pompilius.

Here is the abstract for those of you who like this sort of thing:

Previous studies demonstrate that soft-bodied (coleoid) cephalopods are adept at learning and remembering features of their environment, but little is known about their primitive relative, nautilus. Nautilus makes nightly migrations from deep to shallow water along coral reef slopes, covering large areas of varied substrate. Memory of its surroundings may be advantageous, but the nautilus brain is the simplest among extant cephalopods, lacking dedicated neural regions that support learning and memory in other cephalopods. The authors hypothesize that the absence of these regions in nautilus may affect memory storage. Here the authors report the first evidence for spatial memory in 2- and 3-dimensional arenas. In a small open-field maze, nautiluses learned the location of a goal within 3 trials, and memory was stable for at least 2 weeks. In 3-dimensional environments, animals habituated within and across trials when their surroundings were unchanged, but activity increased when the environment changed topographically, although not when the change was visual only. These results are comparable to performances of coleoids in similar tasks and are surprising given the far simpler neuroanatomy of nautilus.



Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
Very Cool! and most interesting. :nautilus:


O. vulgaris
Oct 29, 2009
very interesting, intelligence in ceph species seems to be an old evolutive way ( well at least in comparison with other mollusks).

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