Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Discuss natural history subjects not strictly related to birds. Reports of interesting mammal, reptile, and invertebrate sightings are welcome.
Paul G

Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Postby Paul G » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:29 am

Judith Jones picked up a dying female Nautilus Argonauta nodosa in the surfline on Karioitahi Beach near Waiuku yesterday.

Paper Nautilus email4.jpg
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The shell/eggcase measures 170mm across (slightly above the average size of 150mm) and was stuffed with the
typical mix of three stages of eggs, mostly fertile, in their thousands.
When found, the moribund octopus was out of the mouth of the case and died quite quickly, the iris of the eye still
being reactive for a short while afterwards.

Paper Nautilus email2.jpg
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I'm aware that these strand on beaches in SE Australia and on Bay of Plenty Islands in NZ, but it seems they are
rare in Tasmania (reportedly only one beached record between 1890 and 2013) and less numerous on NZ's west side.
There were plenty of smaller ones to be found on Mayor Island on our last visit, and my ex-diver friend recalls
chasing them amongst the hot underwater fumaroles around White Island. But some have expressed surprise
at this occurrence on a West Coast surf beach? I don't have that data.

Paper Nautilus email1.jpg
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Anyhow, we released the eggs into a pool in the advancing tide, and left the cephalopod for the gulls.
The beautiful egg case is now a prized ornament on our bookcase.
Thanks to Mike Clark who was photographing anemones nearby, for taking most of these pictures.

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David Riddell
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Re: Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Postby David Riddell » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:49 pm

Very nice. I've seen A. nodosa on a beach north of Mangonui Bluff in Northland, and Powell's New Zealand Mollusca mentions a large shell (10 1/2 inches) from Kaipara North Head. So they definitely occur on the west coast, though I suspect they're more common on the east. NatureWatch doesn't have any NZ records yet.
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Studio Pajaro
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Re: Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Postby Studio Pajaro » Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:05 pm

I have found 3 empty Paper Nautilus shells in the Hokianga Harbour in the last 10 years. They were all found just inside the harbour entrance and its amazing they were all still intact. The largest being 15cm, and the other 2 were quite small at 8cm across. They do make an amzing display on the shelf!
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Re: Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Postby Mig » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:45 am

I have a couple picked up from Baylys Beach 5-6cm, which always surprised me that they survived intact through the huge surf. Really interesting photos.
Paul G

Thanks for the Comments

Postby Paul G » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:51 am

Thanks for the replies, especially about other west coast finds.
What a beautiful piece of nature to stumble upon at any time!
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Re: Paper Nautilus, West Coast Beach

Postby KiwiVet » Sat Dec 02, 2023 10:38 am

Hello! First time poster here....we came across this post when we were researching our own discovery of a live Paper Nautilus or Argonaut. Aren't they the most amazing creatures?! And seeing one live in its shell seems to be a rare opportunity. So we thought you all might be interested in some of the footage we took, and have uploaded some photos here. There is also a You Tube documentary we created that goes live 3pm on the 2nd Dec 2023, link below.
Graham holding nautilus over water.png
Graham releasing the Argonaut back into the ocean
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Argonaut eggs in shell.png
She had thousands of eggs in her shell
Argonaut eggs in shell.png (1.73 MiB) Viewed 2143 times
argo naut shell portrait.png
The Paper Nautilus or Argonaut
argo naut shell portrait.png (455.93 KiB) Viewed 2143 times

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