Pacific

Exotic paper nautilus captured off San Pedro

paper-nautilus-cabrillo.jpgThe Pacific Ocean gave up another of its mysteries off our coast this week. A female Argonaut, a form of octopus commonly called a paper nautilus and usually seen only in warmer regions, was brought aboard by fishermen a few miles out from Angel's Gate lighthouse in San Pedro, the Daily Breeze says. They apparently knew it was special and took the specimen alive to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The strange octopus is a rare sight here because it only lives in tropical and subtropical waters, where it often floats near the surface of the open ocean, grasping small crustaceans and molluscs with its eight thin, silvery tentacles and gnawing on them with its tiny beak.


Aquarium workers are treating the new guest like visiting royalty. They even grew excited when it performed mundane tasks.

"She's pooping!" shouted lab assistant Emily Mumper, as a thin white string of excrement floated to the bottom of the tank. "That's a good sign!"

The baseball-sized animal is making herself at home in a 4-foot-tall tank in the aquatic nursery, where she bobs up and down slowly and without much grace, furling and unfurling her sucker-covered arms over her ridged shell. No one has ever been able to keep an Argonaut alive in captivity for more than two weeks, so little is known about this species, aquarium officials said.

Photo: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium / Gary Florin


More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Pacific stories on LA Observed:
John Severson, 83, founder of Surfer magazine
Time for some weather geeking
Superbugs? Toilet to tap is safer than surfing*
Our big tsunami will come direct from Alaska
Santa Monica tsunami forecast: everything you should know
Hurricane Patricia approaches Mexico at 'incredible' strength
Venomous sea snakes arrive with El NiƱo*
Dockweiler Beach closed by Hyperion sewage and debris


 

LA Observed on Twitter