Argonauta, or the Paper Nautilus, is actually not sea shell in the strict sense, but an egg case made by the female of pelagic octopods (octopi or octopuses). The thin, fragile, fluted shells are rarely washed ashore in tropical and subtropical zones worldwide. The greatest frequency of reported finds is in the Pacific around Australia and the Philippines.
By all accounts there are about seven named species of Argonauts. The Family Argonautidae contains one genus Argonauta. The "shells" of the various species range in size from 2-3 inches (50-75mm) to as large as 12 or more inches (30 centimeters) for Argonauta argo. Don't let the size of the largest shells deceive you. They are as light a paper and slightly translucent.
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