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Family finds picturesque female octopus argonaut egg while walking along Umkomaas shore

A family walking along the shore in Umkomaas, south of Durban, came across a “perfectly preserved argonaut egg case”. Picture: Andries Meyer

A family walking along the shore in Umkomaas, south of Durban, came across a “perfectly preserved argonaut egg case”. Picture: Andries Meyer

Published Mar 31, 2022

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DURBAN - A family walking along the shore in Umkomaas, south of Durban, came across a “perfectly preserved argonaut egg case”.

On March 17, Andries Meyer was walking along the beach at Umkomaas with his wife and daughter Lily when Lily came across the egg case.

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The South African Association for Marine Biological Research’s (Saambr) Ann Kunz said the 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 that secrete these ‘shells’. The males, that 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,” Kunz said.

She said the image showed the paper-thin intricately patterned egg case of the brown argonaut.

“These egg case ‘shells’ serve as a brood chamber for her eggs and assist her with buoyancy by trapping a bubble of air in the shell,” Kunz said.

“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’ to strike unsuspecting crustaceans, molluscs, salps and smaller jellyfish.”

Kunz thanked the Meyer family for sharing their discovery with Saambr.

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Related Topics:

Marine Ecology

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