By : Presha Soogrim
On the 17th March, Andries Meyer was walking along the shore at Umkomaas with his wife and daughter Lilly when Lily came across a perfectly preserved argonaut egg case.
This argonaut egg case belonged to a female pelagic octopus. How we know that it belonged to a female is easy as it is only the female argonauts who secrete these “shells”. The males who are really small in comparison to the females, are no bigger than a few centimetres. Argonauts are also known by the more popular name, paper nautilus.
This image shows the paper-thin intricately patterned egg case of the brown argonaut. These egg case “shells” serve as a brood chamber for her eggs and assists her with buoyancy by trapping a bubble of air in the shell.
Both the male and female argonauts are known to attach themselves to jellyfish and other floating objects which they then use as a “hunting platform” from where they strike unsuspecting crustaceans, molluscs, salps and smaller jellyfish.
Thank you, Meyer family, for sharing your unique marine discovery with us.