argonauta argo

Guiseppe Saverio Poli, Female Paper Nautilus (Argonauta argo); Testacea utriusque Sicilia, 1791.

Jeanne Villepreux-Power (1794-1871)

Art by Maliha C. (tumblr)

The daughter of a shoemaker, Jeanne trained as a dressmaker in Paris before marrying and moving to Sicily with her husband.  In Sicily, Jeanne became fascinated by the sea and created the first aquarium for scientific experiments.  She actually invented three aquariums: a glass aquarium similar to those seen in homes today, a glass aquarium surrounded by a cage that could be submerged in water, and a caged aquarium that could be sunk and anchored deeper in the sea.

Jeanne was particularly interested in mollusks.  At the time, there was debate over whether or not the Argonauta argo produced its own shell.  Jeanne proved that the Argonauta argo bothcreated its own shell and repaired its own shell.