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Newsletter - April 2011

March Meeting
Heather reported that the Wellington Shell Show was an outstanding success, with 190 Exhibits and numerous dealers to purchase shells from. The Lower Hutt Town Hall in Laings Road was constantly full with people, and a lovely buzz of chatter as people viewed the shell exhibits and bought shells from the dealers. A flower show next door was also a hive of activity, and visitors often attended both shows.
At least 9 people came from Australia to attend the show, and about 60 people attended the Shell Club dinner on the Saturday night in Petone.
View the Winners List.

Heather brought in some of her displays from the Wellington Shell Show, as well as more unusual rocks from Coopers Beach. The rocks, which were shaped like Dahlia flowers, are barite concretions. They were recently exposed on Coopers Beach when big seas sucked out the sand covering them.

    Barite concretion on Coopers Beach

Peter then shared his knowledge on NZ Buccinidae.
Buccinidae are one of the most successful gastropod families, and representatives flourish in all seas from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and from tidal waters to ocean deeps. Some are active carnivores, but most are scavengers feeding on dead animal matter. The buccinacean reproductive strategy of direct development means that neighbouring populations have little genetic contact. This enhances genetic isolation, which leads to relatively rapid evolutionary divergence within the family - hence the large number of genera (21) and species (69) from NZ alone.

Since the Spencer & Willan checklist was published in 1995 there have been some big changes in this family ...
. FASCIOLARIINAE elevated to family status as FASCIOLARIIDAE (includes Fusinus, Glaphyrina, Microfulgur, Pleia, & Taron)
. NASSARIINAE elevated to family status as NASSARIIDAE (Nassarius genus)
. Cumia (was Ratifusus) and Iredalula moved to the family COLUBRARIIDAE
. Now just two Buccinidae subfamilies - BUCCININAE & PISANIINAE
. Some deep water Buccipagoda species are currently awaiting identification/description. Collectors have been referring to them as "Kapala sp."

The genus Buccinulum (pronounced Book-Sin-Ulum) which is currently comprised of 12 NZ species, can be quite confusing for collectors. Identification can be very difficult, and is best done through a process of elimination. IE, anything you can't identify as another species is probably a Buccinulum vittatum!
Some Buccinulum species are very variable, and can even be confused with species in other families. For example, B.mariae versus Muricopsis mariae, and B.vittatum versus Taron dubius. It is also puzzling that two separate species (B.pallidum powelli and B.linea) are difficult to distinguish, while one species (B.vittatum) is so variable that it looks like many different species.

Peter brought in a couple of trays of Buccinidae for display and this helped with the identification of some specimens brought in by attendees.

Professor John Morton, 1923-2011
Members of the Shell Club are saddened that our Patron John Morton has passed away. He died peacefully at home on Sunday March 6th with his family around him.
He made a big contribution to the club by his enthusiastic lectures which were the highlight of each year. They will never be forgotten; his inspiration lives on.

Next Meeting - Tuesday 12th April
Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue, Epsom at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm).

Dr Richard Willan, a world renowned malacologist from Darwin, will be speaking on "Marine Molluscs of the Coral Triangle: The Most Diverse Place on the Planet".
Dr Willan is an expat Kiwi and co-author of the landmark "Spencer & Willan" checklist of New Zealand Mollusca. Currently the Curator of Molluscs at the Northern Territories Museum in Darwin, we are honoured to have him visit us. He is an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker who continues to make a great contribution to the study of worldwide Mollusca.
This is an opportunity to meet one of the leaders in our field of interest, so be sure not to miss this highlight of the year. We encourage you to bring along any number of friends, family, or associates who might like to share in the evening.
The "Coral Triangle" is a roughly triangular area of the tropical marine waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
Please bring to the meeting any shells that you may have from this region.

Committee Meeting Summary
The committee now has a plan in place for speakers and activities at our meetings for this year.
We are working on the 2011 Poirieria as a celebration of 80 years of the Auckland Shell Club (even though we are a year late). Our intention is to include information about as many club members as possible, with photos.
Also, it was decided that the people in key roles on the committee would be excluded from paying club fees.

Shell Auction - Albany Hall, Saturday 22nd October 2011
The Albany Hall has been booked, so mark it in your diary now!
If you would like to sell at the auction then please register your interest with Peter Poortman (Ph: 09 817 1397), preferably with an indication of how many lots you would like to enter.

Subscriptions
If you have not already paid, these are now due.
Please contact our Treasurer Luen Jones on (09) 834 5195 if you have any queries.

Poirieria Magazine
We would welcome contributions to our club magazine "Poirieria".
Please think about what you could provide. Anything related to shells or collecting would be greatly appreciated - Eg. shelling trips/finds, personal observations/tips, scientific research, historic anecdotes, a notable washup, etc.
Please email to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com, or post to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Waitakere 0604.
Contact Patricia Langford on (09) 479 6149 if you have any queries.

Club Library
We have an extensive collection of books, magazines, and scientific publications available, as well as a biological microscope.

Other Club News
. Colleen Patterson reports that she was very lucky to have suffered no harm or damage in the February Christchurch earthquake ... "The quake rocked and rolled strongly no early warning noise like the September one. When it finished the first room we checked was the shell room. Shells had slid off the glass shelves in the cabinet, but thanks to the earthquake brackets wed put up drawers just went in and others out".

. Many thanks to those members who manned the table at the Auckland Museum "Explorama" on 26/27th February. IE. Margaret, Heather, Gladys, Jocelyn, Gordon, Betty, Peter, and support from Wilma Blom.

. Tom Ball, a shell collector in Florida, needs a Cymbiola rossiniana (a New Caledonia species) for a Shell Show entry. Please contact Tom on tball@mindspring.com if you have one to spare for sale or trade.

. Franck Frydman, a collector in France, is looking for NZ Cassidae, Ranellidae, Bursidae, and a Harpa major (cf. Harpa ligata Menke, 1828) variant possibly from Tokelau. Franck specialises in worldwide Haliotidae and Harpidae but also has Conidae, Cypraeidae, and other families to trade. His email address is rf-j-rf@wanadoo.fr.

. Items of interest for the monthly newsletter are always welcome - email to petermwp@gmail.com, or post to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

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