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Among the most remarkable curiosities is the animal which has the name1 of nautilus, or, as some people call it, the pompilos. Lying with the head upwards, it rises to the surface of the water, raising itself little by little, while, by means of a certain conduit in its body, it discharges all the water, and this being got rid of like so much bilge-water as it were, it finds no difficulty in sailing along. Then, extending backwards its two front arms, it stretches out between them a membrane2 of marvellous thinness, which acts as a sail spread out to the wind, while with the rest of its arms it paddles along below, steering itself with its tail in the middle, which acts as a rudder. Thus does it make its way along the deep, mimicking the appearance of a light Liburnian3 bark; while, if anything chances to cause it alarm, in an instant it draws in the water, and sinks to the bottom.4

1 This account of the nautilus, Cuvier says, the Argonauta argo of Linnæus, wonderful as it may appear, has been often confirmed by modern observation.

2 This, Cuvier says, is not a membrane between the two feet or tentacles, but a distinct membranous delatation of the extremity of each of those two organs.

3 These vessels have been already remarked upon in Note 33 to c. 5 of the present Book.

4 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 61.

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