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The cephalopods are the mollusk class Cephalopoda characterized by bilateral body symmetry, a prominent head, and a modification of the mollusk foot, a muscular hydrostat, into the form of arms or tentacles. Teuthology, a branch of malacology, is the study of cephalopods. The class contains two extant subclasses. In the Coleoidea, the mollusk shell has been internalized or is absent; this subclass includes the octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. In the Nautiloidea the shell remains; this subclass includes the nautilus. About 786 distinct living species of cephalopods have been identified. Two important extinct taxa are Ammonoidea, the ammonites, and Belemnoidea, the belemnites Cephalopods are found in all the oceans of Earth, at all depths. None of them can tolerate freshwater, but a few species tolerate more or less brackish water.


Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., vol. 5) (New York, NY: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910)


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