A Living Nautilus Shell

A Living Nautilus Shell Doodlewash of chambered Nautilus on white background ocean living fossil

I had actually intended to doodlewash a nautilus shell, but came across the actual creature inside it and was intrigued. So for our #NatureDoodlewash hike, we’ve plunged underwater to visit a living fossil. Nautiluses have been hanging around on this planet for over 500 million years without any changes to their appearance. They were actually here 265 million years before dinosaurs first appeared. They move around by jet-propulsion which is pretty cool, sucking up large amounts of water through a siphon and then positioning it in various directions to make themselves move around.

Even in my slap dash research, mating always seems to rise to the top. In the case of the nautilus, after see something about the male having a “couple” of tentacles that act as a sexual organ, I stopped reading. Well okay, there was another bit about delivering “sperm packages” but that really made me stop reading. Honestly, it’s amazing they can even have sex at all so bully for them, however it’s done. And the odds are interesting for courtship when you consider there are considerably more males found in nature – 75% are male and only 25% are female. Scientists are not really sure why this happens.

Oh, and they have horrible eyesight. They’re only able to detect light and dark, like someone waking up with a hangover. Lucky for them though, they were blessed with a great sense of smell and can then use that to ensure they don’t starve. I’m sure there’s much more interesting things to learn about these guys, but as is often the case I ran out of time to read about them. Also, it’s Friday, and time for another weekend! And I sincerely hope all of you have a great one!

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. The Leaf Diary 7 years ago

    That’s lovely Charlie!

  2. Catherine Johnson 7 years ago

    Oh dear now I’ve got the image of them getting amorous with rocks if they have bad eyesight 😂

  3. Jodi 7 years ago

    Very cool critter! Great shadowing (as always) that really enhances your art! 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 I loves me some shadows…hehe… Kind of weird creatures though. Wasn’t even sure what I was painting half way through. Hehe

  4. Margaret Parker Brown 7 years ago

    I have learned more from your nature walks! this guy is kind of cute, sexual appendages and all! Have a creative and fun weekend Charlie!

    • Author

      The weird part is…I have no idea if this should be censored or not! 😊 I may or may not have doodlewashed sexual appendages and I may never know!! Lol Thanks, Margaret! 😃💕Hope you have an awesome creative weekend as well!!

  5. Carol 7 years ago

    Great doodlewash, and I think I now know much more about them than I ever wanted to know! TGIF, Charlie! 😄

  6. Jacob 7 years ago

    Great doodlewash! I love the funky, dare I say zonkey-esque markings on the shell – they got my hopes up higher than usual on first glance, I admit 😉 Another education and intriguing pick; a peculiar creature, but surely a natural masterpiece to have stuck around so long. They’re doing something right, and if it ain’t broke…! Awesome!

    • Author

      Yeah…interesting that they find themselves so perfect they never felt the need to evolve. Now that’s some fierce confidence. Kind of envy them! 😊Thanks Jacob! (But nothing beats a Zonkey!!)

  7. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Ha! Gives new meaning to “see” shell – for those creatures who are blind in a shell! 😉 Another AMAZING doodlewash with interesting facts, Charlie! Happy weekend, friend! 💕😃🎨

    • Author

      Haha!! It totally does!! And Awww thanks so much, Jill! 😃💕I was happy with how this little blind guy turned out! Hope you have a great weekend as well!!

  8. What a cute sea creature, and 100% yay from me, being fossil mad, you have hit tops choosing to paint the live version ( I had been meaning to paint a fossil on my nature trail for June, but I have been so busy, we have our hospice family fun day today, after lots of arranging, I hope to paint tonight, if I am not too tired)?

  9. GeorgieMoon 7 years ago

    I love your nautilus shell. Fabulous colours. They are amazing creatures, almost prehistoric. Have a lovely weekend!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 years ago

    Science Lesson: So let’s see, lots more boy nautiluses than girls but the boys can smell the girls a mile away cuz of their Sea Salt perfume, no one can see anything in the dark, the nautilus has sex somehow, deliverance of sperm, and, oh boy, it’s the weekend already! Naughty nautilus!

    Your Doodlewash is fan-n-n-ntastic.

    • Author

      Haha!! Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕Both for the compliment and perfectly illustrating exactly why I don’t teach science! Lol 😊

  11. Love these animals! Also turtles Sharks and horseshoe crabs, they are here for a long long time! I have a very old Nautilus in my room! maybe a 400 million years old! haha! a Ammonite they call it! Love your doodle Charlie!

  12. Wow, Charlie. I am so enjoying these nature experiences every time I visit your place! 💜 You so rock the details, bro!

  13. Teri C 7 years ago

    Love the painting but love your commentary as much. You are a hoot!

  14. memadtwo 7 years ago

    You’ve captured the floating perfectly! (K)

  15. Cathe 7 years ago

    I’m always amazed at how beautiful a shell is but how strange the critter that reside in it really is. Wow! Great doodlewash!

  16. Daramemon 7 years ago


  17. wendymuldon 7 years ago

    Just gorgeous! Love it, and I wish to see one some day

  18. […] the second time I’ve sketched a nautilus shell. The first time was a lesser seen version of the actual living creature. A rather alien looking thing indeed, but also equally intriguing in its own way. I realized that […]

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