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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - April 2001

Bruce Hazelwood did a good job of chairing the meeting. We were given news of Doug Snook, who is recovering well after his heart valve replacement. Joan Willan can now be contacted at 8 Beachlands Rd, Beachlands, Ph. 536 6556. Heather Smith also has a new address at 42B Combes Rd, Remuera, Ph. 524 5068.
Glenys told a shaggy shell story about a parcel posted to England but which was sent back again to New Zealand because the receiver was not at home! She may relate all the quirky details for a future Poirieria.
Margaret reported on a meeting at Waitakere aimed at initiating some form of marine protection for the west coast of Auckland. In addition to concern for the intertidal life there is need to protect the Hectors dolphins in the area. The Conchology Section is now a "stakeholder" and will be kept informed. Anyone who wants more details or to give an opinion Ph. Margaret 576 8323.
Frank and Bruce have been collecting land snails on grave sites in Grafton gully because this habitat may be lost.
Peggy is leaving Auckland at the end of the month to live at Mt Maunganui. She will be greatly missed. She asks that any members in the district look her up. Address to come. We thank her for all the many years of service in various capacities that she has given to the club. PS How will we remember the milk for the supper??

Margaret Morley spoke on the changes to the diversity, quantity and size of the molluscs at Howick Beach since the 1950's. Overheads were used to show how the article, co-authored with Bruce Hayward and the late Arthur White in this Poirieria, was built up. It was shown that despite much careful checking, mistakes remain, like the previous name Murexul, recently revised by Marshall and Burch to Muricopsis. This was actually put in the species list correctly then at the last moment the decrepancy spotted between the name in the list and the name in the text -then the wrong one changed!!
We discussed the possible causes of the changes throughout the Waitemata Harbour and elsewhere.
Frank made an important point that although in linear measurement the 2000 molluscs are half the length of those from the 1950's, when the shells are calculated as a cube the old specimens are actually 8 times bigger. This was more than verified when the specimens were weighed. The 1950 shell of Austrovenus stutchburyi weighed in at 50gm compared to the 2000 specimen at 5gm. The 1950 Dicathais orbita weighed 150gm but the 2000 specimen only 10gm. A measurement of volume was further evidence. The 1950 Austrovenus contained 46ml and the 2000 specimen 4.6ml, the 1950 Dicathais held 35ml and the 2000 only 6ml.
A few shells from the Arthur White collection were offered as a prize for spotting the mistakes in the display of Howick shells. Frank won, with a little help from Fiona.

Bruce Hazelwood invites any member to visit his collection of worldwide volutes. He has some rarely seen species. Please Ph. 525 0065.

Your copy is enclosed. Many thanks to the editors Tony and Jenny and to all contributors.

Several members enjoyed the combined sunny weather trip organised by Geoclub to Powell and Bartrum Bays on the Waitakere coast. It seemed very appropriate that the two clubs should meet at the beaches named for such eminent forbears of conchology and geology. We had permission to walk through private property and down their extensive wooden steps to the beach. Without this access these beaches can only be reached during spring low tides and calm weather by a very long walk from Maori Bay.
The dramatic geology of the cliffs was explained by Bruce Hayward. The dikes and huge pillow lavas were admired and most people were able to find fossils. We noted that the Durvillaea kelp has recovered from its severe depletion in 1998, probably due to higher than usual sea temperatures, and now reaches more than 5m in length.

June 12 meeting
Doug Snook will be the speaker with his title "Sannibel Island Revisited".

Margaret is away enjoying Castlecliff and Cape Palliser.

Tuesday 8 May 7:30pm. Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Entry by the Administration door between 7:15 and 7:30pm. No late admittance.
Topic: Members participation night.
Please will everyone bring one or two shells, either New Zealand or overseas, with a good story to tell, or any other items of interest especially with a short talk. Please bring in the fossils from the trip. If you have any shells you would like identified bring those too, together with a couple of your favourite shell books to look at or to help with our identifications.
Make room in your car to bring a tray of the families Patellidae, Nacellidae Lottiidae, (Acmaeidae), Pseudococculinidae and Lepetidae. We will discuss these, both New Zealand and overseas.
The WHOPPER species will be Buccinulum linea. Bring your largest. Peter may be given a handicap!

Margaret Morley: Ph (09) 576 8323, Fiona Thompson: Ph (09) 828 4855
Email: Peter Poortman: Ph (09) 817 5697
Website: Conchology Section website


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