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Newsletter - August 2014

July Meeting
Martin Walker has recently found the time to get back into his shell collection. He and Maribel have just finished building three new shell cabinets, and are now enjoying sorting out the collection into the newly created space.
His first question for us was whether anyone knew where to get the small metal fixings into which drawer labels can be inserted. He knows where to get plastic ones, but needs metal ones less than 40mm high to match his older drawers. Please phone Martin on 027 2874287 if you know where he could get these.

While reorganising his shells, Martin came across a pair of Gastropods he had obtained about 50 years ago from a travelling American collector.
Martin had filed them under Naticidae, but the label was lost and he asked for our help in identifying them. The shells were about 40mm wide, solid and heavy, brown, had a deep umbilicus, and a strange operculum - like a coiled rope.
Much discussion ensued but none of us knew what they were. However, Russell Hodgson and Michael Barlow both contacted Martin with an identification shortly after they had arrived home from the meeting. The shells are a common Californian seashell - Norrisia Norrisi.

Martin then told us a story about a case of serendipity he recently experienced. In relation to science, serendipity refers to the making of a discovery by accident of something you were not in quest of. What happened was that long ago a friend returned from overseas and gave Martin a fridge magnet, which was basically a small encrusted Haliotis glued to a magnet. Recently it fell off the fridge and the magnet broke off, taking a thumbnail sized area of encrustation with it. The clean section thus exposed on the back of the Haliotis revealed a very unusual stark colour pattern of half white and half dark. No-one present could identify the species, so Martin would welcome suggestions from anyone knowledgeable on worldwide Haliotis. The shell was about 60mm long, relatively flat, and with a silvery interior. Martin will somehow clean the rest of the encrustation off, and someone suggested that he could do this by gluing more magnets to it and throwing it to the floor!

Next up was Margaret Morley who gave us a quiz on Mollusca. This covered a wide and interesting range of topics, and the questions got progressively harder. Each question sparked a lot of discussion and we occasionally got quite sidetracked. An example of a typical question is "which way up do tusk shells live - wide end up or narrow end up?". We intended to keep scores and determine a winner, but in the heat of mental contest the scoring was soon forgotten. Thank you Margaret for a very interesting and thought-provoking quiz.

With the time remaining we viewed some "Argonauta" DVDs recently sent to us from Associazione Malacologica Internazionale. These complimentary DVDs contain a variety of malacological articles with many fine images. We have many such DVDs in our club library, and these are freely available for members to borrow at any time.

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

Dr. Wilma Blom, Marine Invertebrates Curator at Auckland Museum, will talk to us about the "Dryer collection" which was last year donated to the Auckland Museum. This is a huge collection (~15000 lots) including about 5000 land snail lots and many good Cenozoic fossil shells. The NZ shells were collected between 1919 and 1925, sometimes in the company of A.W.B.Powell. Auckland Museum has brought the collection back from Canada, and is now sorting it and integrating it into the Museum collection.

If time permits, Heather will tell us about the silting that is occurring along the Australian coastline. This is possibly due to human impact. As usual she will have some wonderful photos, including images of live clams - one of the survivors among the dead coral.

Shell Auction Saturday 25th October (Labour Weekend)
Our annual Shell Auction will be held on Labour Weekend at the Albany Hall.
Sellers please get your lot lists to Peter before August 25th. Lot numbers are limited to 30 per person, but please advise if you would like to put in more than that because room for more may become available.
As usual the club will take a 10% commission on the sale price.
Contact Peter Poortman (petermwp@gmail.com or 09 817 1397) for more information.

New Zealand Shell Show 2015
This will be held on 16-18/January/2015 at the Petone Club in Udy Street, Petone, Lower Hutt.
Show classes, rules & registration form, and transport & accommodation information are now available from the Wellington Shell Club website at www.wellingtonshellclub.org.nz.

Poirieria Magazine
We welcome contributions to our club magazine "Poirieria".
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 articles to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com, or post to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

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

Other News
. Heather has some Shell Show trophies that need to go to Wellington. If anybody could take them there in the next few months then please contact her on 09 5245068 or heathertwinsmith@gmail.com.

. If anyone has old or recent Poirieria magazines for give-away then please contact our Librarian, Luen Jones, on 09 8345195 or wildhoney@slingshot.co.nz.

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

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