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  • José H. Leal

Argonaut!


Female Argonaut, by Jeff Laity.

In the last issue, I mentioned the great "black-water" photos by Linda Ianniello; for black-water, read drift-diving, in the middle of the night. Still in the subject of black-water photography, here is a nice image of a female Argonaut, Argonauta argo, photographed in the Philippines by Jeff Laity, and used with his permission. Argonauts are surface-dwelling cephalopods related to octopuses. There are four known species, and mature females in all four build protective cases for their eggs. The cases are shell-like but not true shells in the evolutionary sense. Male individuals are “naked,” octopus-like. When fully formed, the case also serves as protection for the female Argonauts, and as an aid to flotation, as the animal can “trap” an air bubble between its body and the shell.