A marine biologist has documented the rescue of a rare paper nautilus, “one of the strangest animals in the ocean”, as she helped the cephalopod find its way back into deeper waters.
Australian marine biologist and diver Sheree Marris told Storyful that she saw the “crimson object” in ankle-deep water before she even had a chance to put on her mask.
“On closer inspection, I immediately realized what it was,” she said, “a female paper nautilus that was clearly trapped and wading through the sandy shallows.”
Paper nautiluses, also known as argonauts, are a type of octopus found in the open ocean. According to National Geographic, females make a parchment-like shell to transport incubating eggs and control where they swim.
In the video, the argonaut can be seen rolling on the sand. “I could tell immediately that she was in trouble and stressed out,” Marris said. “When I got close, she inked, which is a defense mechanism.”
Marris picked up the little cephalopod and swam it “far out into deeper water and away from the marina and any boats”.
She documented the rescue in a four-part photo and video series, which she posted to her Instagram account between May 26 and July 2. Credit: Sheree Marris via Storyful