Table of Contents
The Cameroceras is an extinct animal species that lived during the Ordovician and the Silurian period. The species lived about 470 million years ago among other sea creatures such as trilobites, fish, scorpions and other animal species (Clarke, 1897). During the time, Cameroceras was the top predator in the sea ecosystem. Camerocera is recognized as the largest orthocone cephalopod that ever existed. However, only data on the estimates on the upper size of the animal exists. The cameroceras had a cell that was estimated to stretch to about six meters in length (Nesis, 1987). At six meters in length, the cameroceras is still regarded as the largest cephalopod that ever existed during the Ordovocian period. The paper herein gives looks at the information about the cameroceras species and also proposes a feeding plan for the animal in case it becomes part of a modern zoo.
The cameroceras belongs to the same group of mollusc just like the squids, octopuses and the cuttlefish of today (Packard, 1972). Therefore, one can consider the characteristics of the animals in the same group to study the cameroceras because of the limited information about the animal species. For instance, the animal would have its head at the opening of the hard shell which is coned-shaped. The body of the cameroceras would be within the cell for protection against the predators and other factors in the environment that would pose a danger to the life of the cephalopod. The cameroceras had tentacles emanating at the below the head the same as in the today’s cuttlefish with the role of the tentacles being used to catch and manipulate prey as the animal prepares to feed (Boyle and Rodhouse, 2008). The cemaroceras would have a strong beak at the base of the tentacles that it uses to bite its prey. The beak is strong; enough to pierce through the shells of other orthocones and other target preys.
We can do it today.
Most of the modern caphaloponds have a tooth-like tongue that they use t rasp soft tissue out of the shells of their prey (Mangold, 1983). However, there is no proof that the cameroceras had this feature. Many researchers and anthropologists have claimed that the cameroceras had poor eyesight. However, this speculation has not been proven as the eyes of the cameroceras have never been found. Assuming that the cameroceras had the same characteristics as the modern cephalopods then the animal had a great ability to recognize colors as well us see light in dark water (Rocha et al., 2001).
The story of camerocras can be traced in the 1842 at a time the science of palaeontology was just starting to take shape (Gnoli and Pillolla, 2002). The study of cameroceras has had several challenges where scientists have been confusing the fossils for other large orthocones to belong to the same genus only to find out later that they belonged to other superior genera. However, there is sufficient evidence that there is a correlation between some genera of the large orthocones like the Endocerase and the cameroceras which further confirms the possibility of the fossils belonging to the cameroceras (Gnoli and Pillolla, 2002).
Behavior of Cameroceras
According to Evans (1994), the mating and social habits of endocerids are never questioned or mentioned. One common aspect of the Cameroceras is that they have a pronounced shell which primarily sticks to the ocean bed. Another attribute of the cameroceras is that they do not socialize with other animals. Cameroceras barely interact with other sea creatures of the same species unless they are mating. An image of camerocerans packed in dozens can be visualized in a frame as they scower under the sea beds in search of food and other arthropods (Evans and Holland, 1995). During this searching activity, their shells are always straightened up. The site is not rare because when one visits an Ordovician sea bed they are likely to see huge cone shells that stick up everywhere to suggest that despite them interacting with each other, they can still live and hunt in closer proximities. Forming a huge cone shell that stick up is also a form of natural trap for the prey dwelling on the bottom of the sea or ocean and do not have a place to relocate. In the process the cameroceras, endocerids and the prey mutually help each other out which is an obvious site witnessed in the Ordovician (Evans and Holland, 1995). An inaccurate image has been portrayed in media channels about open sea predators that live solitarily such as the large endocerids.
According to the mating habits of the cameroceras we find out that the details and specific behaviors of mating are different depending on the type of Cephalopod. The basic idea derived from all of the findings constitutes the overall sum. All male cephalopods have a penis in disguise that is in the form of a tentacle and is called the hectocotylus (Yü, 1933). When mating, the male cephalopod inserts its hectocotylus inside the female’s mouth through an opening that is basically not the nose. Through the hectocotylus, the male is able to transfer spermatophores (Bulinski, 2010). The mating process and the eventual transfer of spermatophores in octopuses are always simple. Nautiluses and cuttlefishes undergo a different process because of their body shapes that grip onto each other during the mating process (Yü, 1933). All through the mating process, the nautiluses and cuttlefish face each other. Presence of endocerid shells also aid the entire process. A second scenario is witnessed where the male has to tear its hectoctocotylus in order to give it to the female for later use. That can be related to being given a penis that can make you pregnant on the opportune time. After the mating process is complete, the female then lays eggs of unknown number. The modern Nautilids have the tendency to lay only a few hundred of the eggs (Commons, 2010). The eggs laid by the females hatch after several weeks or months depending on the favorable conditions.
Response to environment
Cameroceras are believed to have special cells of pigment called the chromatophores that enables organisms to change their patterns and color quickly and precisely in order to match their new environments. The ability to change pattern and color enables the cameroceras to camouflage and communicate with each other when danger arises or when a particular emotion is detected (Commons, 2010). The case is however different from that of nautilus because they protect themselves by releasing large amounts of smoke screen whenever they sense any impeding danger. Cameroceras also have photophore organs that they use for light production and fro making then bioluminescence in case of danger. The bioluminescence startles predators that pose threat to their species. Cameroceras also have the ability to differentiate between size, brightness, and the orientation of objects or organisms (Commons, 2010). When the cameroceras need to camouflage themselves they do so by releasing chromatophores depending on the background they see. Additionally, cameroceras can match to the appropriate background color from cells called leucophores and iridophores. Leucophores and iridosphores cells play the role of reflecting light form the surroundings. Likewise, the cameroceras have well developed nervous system together with a complex brain and sensory organs. The latter allows the cameroceras to learn and also recall memories because their thinking can be controlled due to the presence of ganglia.
Feeding of the Camerocerus
Due to its large size, the cameroceras is believed to have been a bottom feeder in the food chain feeding on the other arthropods. The cameroceras fed on smaller arthropods such as eurypterids and megalograptus. The above arthropods lived during the time when the cameroceras existed and assumed to be potential prey for this animal species. The cameroceras species is believed also to may have fed on other cephalopods such as the cyclostomeceras and it also fed on ammonites. However, the feeding on ammonites appears to be inaccurate since the oldest known ammonites appeared about four hundred million years ago which is about twenty-five millions years after the last Camerocras had become extinct. As a result of the size of the cameroceras, it was believed to have been a poor swimmer and it would swim slowly. The animal relied completely on its siphon to maneuver.
Feeding Plan for the Cameroceras
If the cameroceras would be returned to be part of the zoo today, it would require a feeding plan to survive and reproduce. Therefore, the paper herein proposes a feeding plan for the cameroceras. The feeding plan is based on the assumption that the cameroceras would feed exactly as the modern cephalopods and the variations may only be in terms of quantity due to the large size of the animal as compared to the other cephalopods (Kobluk, 1981). Therefore, the diet of the camerocerus will mainly consist of fish, crustaceans and worms. The diet under consideration will contain small fish and other small species of the cephalopods. The following feeding plan shows the amount and interval of time that the cameroceras will be fed each day.
|Age in Weeks||How Often||Night Feeding|
|1||Every 2 hours||Yes|
|2||Every 3 hours||Yes|
|3||Every 4 hours||Yes|
|4||Every 5 hours||No|
|5||Every 5 hours||No|
|Above 5||Every 5 hours||No|
The above diet is based on the feeding characteristics of cephalopods. The cameroceras is, therefore, treated as being a member of the group. The animal will be fed as given in the above feeding plan by pouring small fish and worms into the preservation water where the cameroceras will be held. The fish worms will be reared for the purpose of feeding the cameroceras. The estimated budget for feeding the cameroceras will be about $10 per day. The $10 will be used for purchasing the food for the fish and the worms which are then used as the main food for the cameroceras. The short feeding intervals are a result of the rapid digestion that takes place in the cephalopods. The digestion is the cephalopods takes place at a high rate that makes and absorption takes place in the liver and the pancreas (Titus, 1982). The rapid digestion taking place on the animal species makes them feel hungry quickly and hence the feeding should be done within the specified duration to avoid starvation (Titus and Cameron, 1976). The characteristics of the cameroceras used in formulating the feeding plan are based on the comparative physiology of all the cephalopods.
Animal nutrition as an important topic in biology as it gives an insight into how the animals survive in their respective environments. Studying this topic has given me the opportunity to understand some of the factors that determine the behaviour of the animals in their environment. Different animals display different feeding patterns due to the differences in physical features as well as due to the variations in the environment. Conducting a research on the cameroceras has given me an opportunity to get a better understanding of the cephalopods animal group. Cameroseras is one of the largest cephalopods that ever lived according to the available fossil information about the animal. Also, developing a feeding plan for the cameroceras species has allowed me to use my skills in research to find out some of the physiological characteristics that determine the feeding patterns of an animal. However, the one the greatest challenge doing this assignment is the lack of information about the topic.
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