[vimeo width=”680″ height=”400″]http://vimeo.com/23495195[/vimeo]
This live argonaut was filmed on a Spanish beach, where a tourist reached to pick it up thinking it was a seashell. Indeed the pelagic argonaut may have been moments from washing up on the beach, at which point its paper-thin shell membrane was not far from becoming someone’s souvenir. This rare encounter between a live argonaut and a video camera is one of the best public examples of its kind. We are amazed at how the argonaut can seem like an oddball in a groups of molluscs that includes the bizzarrest of creatures like octopi, squid and cuttlefish.
The live specimen of argonaut in the video is possibly the Greater Argonaut, Argonauta argo, a cosmopolitan pelagic species which is one of the largest of the paper-thin shelled cephalopods. You are probably more familiar with the Nautilus, a shelled cephalopod which is a relic for a different era of cephalopod, and a living fossil which is one of the most primitive cephalopods left on this earth. Unlike the nautilus, the argonaut is a delicate pelagic species which has not been put on public display for any length of time to our knowledge. Perhaps if its aquarium care requirements become known we may some day see this fascinating Argonaut species on display in a public aquarium setting.