Nautilus siphuncle crystals, SEM

Nautilus siphuncle crystals, SEM

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Credit: EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nautilus siphuncle crystals. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of crystals from the siphuncle structure in a nautilus shell. Here, the layered region (top) is the shell, while the needle-like area is associated with a structure called the siphuncle. The interior shell layer in a nautilus consists of a composite material called nacre (also known as mother-of-pearl). This material is mostly a form of aragonite, a calcium carbonate mineral. Nacre has a very high tensile strength due to a combination of soft organic layers and hard inorganic platelets of aragonite. The nautilus is a marine mollusc related to the octopus and squid (all are examples of cephalopods). It has a spiral shell divided into many chambers, of which the animal inhabits only the outermost. The siphuncle connects the chambers. Magnification: x6650 when printed at 10 centimetres across.

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Keywords: aragonite, biological, biology, broken, calcium carbonate, colored, coloured, composite material, crystal, crystalline, crystals, false-colored, false-coloured, fauna, fragment, inorganic, layer, layers, marine, marine biology, material, materials science, mineral, mother-of-pearl, nacre, nature, nautilus, no-one, nobody, organic, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, shell, siphuncle, zoological, zoology

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