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Paper Nautilus Shell

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Female argonauts produce a laterally-compressed calcareous eggcase in which they reside. This "shell" has a double keel fringed by two rows of alternating tubercles. The sides are ribbed with the centre either flat or having winged protrusions. The eggcase curiously resembles the shells of extinct ammonites. It is secreted by the tips of the female's two greatly expanded dorsal tentacles (third left arms) before egg laying. After she deposits her eggs in the floating eggcase, the female takes shelter in it, often retaining the male's detached hectocotylus. She is usually found with her head and tentacles protruding from the opening, but she retreats deeper inside if disturbed. These ornate curved white eggcases are occasionally found floating on the sea, sometimes with the female argonaut clinging to it. It is not made of aragonite as most other shells are, but of calcite, with a three-layered structure and a higher proportion of magnesium carbonate (7%) than other cephalopod shells.

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