Autumn and winter is a great time to find Paper Nautilus shells on the beach, but you must be up early to beat the birds to an intact prize.
Only the female of the species, like all argonauts, creates a paper-thin eggcase that coils around the octopus. The shell is gas filled and is used as a brood chamber to keep the young ones safe.
Females grow to 100 mm, while males do not exceed 20 mm Males reach sexual maturity at a mantle length of 8 mm and often resides inside the females shell.
The Nautilus is occasionally involved in mass stranding’s along the South African coastline. The strandings are seasonal and generally occur between April and August, towards the end of the animals’ spawning season, look out for favourable tide conditions and an onshore wind onto a long deserted beach.
Enjoy the hunt.