Fossilized argonaut egg cases have been recovered from marine siltstones of the late Miocene exposed around margins of the Los Angeles Basin, California. Low radial ribs on the thin, keelless, planispirally coiled egg cases suggest referring them to Mizuhobaris lepta new species. Occurrence of these egg cases in fine-grained Monterey Formation sediments with mesopelagic fish fossils, nannofossils, and Foraminifera indicate deposition in middle-to-upper bathyal depths. Argonaut egg cases have been described from Tertiary strata in Japan, New Zealand, Sumatra, and Europe, but this is the first report of fossilized argonaut egg cases from the Western Hemisphere.
Secretion of egg cases by argonauts probably developed during the Paleogene as a solution to problems of spawning encountered by octopi as they acquired an epipelagic, open-ocean habitat. Shape and sculpture of the egg cases represent responses to hydrodynamics rather than an inheritance from or copying of ectocochliate cephalopods. The cases may provide the eggs with protection from ultraviolet radiation present in the argonauts' near-surface habitat.