An Illustrated and Cross-Referenced Glossary of
Malacological and Conchological Terms

by Paul S. Mikkelsen

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Term Definition

PAPER NAUTILUS   Common name applied to the external temporary shell constructed by the ARGONAUT to protect its eggs; = PAPER SAILOR. This shell is not made from paper; the shell is "paper thin" (i.e., very fragile) and constructed of calcium carbonate (like most seashells) only by the female of the species and only for purposes of protecting her eggs. Additionally, the Paper Nautilus is not a nautilus at all, but rather is a member of the order Octopoda (which includes the octopusses) and family Argonautidae.
[left photo by Paul S. Mikkelsen, right photo by Carly De Maye] Both photos: Argonauta argo Linne, 1758

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