20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Female paper nautilus on a salp

The paper nautilus, smaller than a pea, this newborn nautilus is hitching a ride on a salp to help not get exhausted. We know its a female because the white hat is her shell forming. Argonaut argonaut. The males don't have the shell. She uses the shell to harbor her eggs later on in life and uses it to move up and down the water column. She is a pelagic lifer- meaning unlike octopuses she will live in the water column and not settle on a reef or lay her eggs somewhere else. Totally self-sufficient- except for hitching a ride on or in salps or jellyfish.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Anilao, Philippines
Camera: NIKON D500
Copyright: © Susan Meldonian