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by Ross Mayhew creator of The Mollusc of the Moment Articles

"Argonauta nouryi"

Lorois, 1852

Class:  Cephalopoda

Family: Argonautidae

Species:  Argonauta nouryi Lorois, 1852

Common Name: Nouryi's Argonaut

Photo Courtesy of Guido Poppe

     The Argonaut molluscs (A family in the Class Cephalopoda) have only vestigial shells, but their egg cases on the other hand, are justifiably famous!! Once a year, the female Argonauta carefully places all her eggs in a light, fragile case that she accompanies upon the waves, to act as a little "ark" for her young, until they hatch. This is the shell which is pictured above.

     Argonauta nouryi Lorois, 1852 is one of the rarest of the small family (only 8 known species), and its elongate shape makes it aesthetically superior to most. It is found only in a limited area off Western Mexico, and a lot of conchologists would KILL to obtain one :o).