Commonly known as the Muddy Argonaut
Those who take on the Struisbaai plaat in the early hours know that from late April till the end of May is the best time to find that ever elusive and rare paper nautilus shells. This year the early beach-pickers were able to get their hands on a fair share of them. The most interesting nautilus however was one that was picked up by Niel Reynolds – a black one. Emmerentia de Kock (SANPark) referred the topic to Prof. Gavin Maneveld (Marine Biologist), Department of Biodiversity & Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape, and he said the following:
“This is a beautiful specimen. As far as I know, there are only four species of paper nautilus in South African Water. Argonauta argo is the one most commonly found and can grow to 30cm in diameter. The remaining three species (A.nodosa, A.boettgeri and A.hians) are variously less common. Argonauta boettergeri and A.hians are similar to each other, both species are yellowing to brown to almost black in colour. Argonaute boettgeri (maximum size generally 5 – 7cm in diameter) is smaller. The shell in the picture (above) looks like A.hians. The common name Muddy Argonaut, comes from the brown to grey colour of the shell.”
Indeed a rare find. Take a walk on Struisbaai plaat and see what interesting items you can find!