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Newsletter - July 2008

August Meeting
Take a trip across the Tasman.
Heather Smith has returned from her trip to the Australian Shell Shows and will once again engage us with her entertaining and exciting anecdotes of her travel experiences. Heather did exceptionally well at the shows including receiving the much coveted top award and will bring along her winning shell trays.
Please bring along any Australian shells, photos or shell collecting stories.
Guaranteed to be another great night on Tuesday, 12th August at Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue,
Epsom where you are welcome to arrive from 7:00 pm on with the meeting commencing at 7:30 pm. As usual, supper shall be supplied.

Shell Auction
You are invited to the Shell Auction which shall be held on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at Albany Hall.
Mark it in your diaries now!
Please find enclosed a copy of the Auction Lot List filled with some rare and intriguing finds. There are 303 shell lots to peruse and 27 book lots to ponder over. There is guaranteed to be something for everyone! As well as the auction, there will be sales tables available.
Further details plus map will be sent next month .

Shell Show Committee Meeting
To be held prior to the August meeting. Please meet at 6:30 pm. All Welcome to join Heather, Peter, Doug and Martin.
If you have any stories, photos, pictures, articles, etc for the upcoming Poirieria Journal, please advise Editors: Tony and Jenny Enderby as soon as possible - thanks.
The Great Measure-up Meeting was a "huge" success—refer over for meeting notes. Some of the world record sizes have been surpassed since the meeting (mostly by the National Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa)) ... we have not revealed which ones have been beaten ... because that's YOUR job to take an interest and find out how our website works!

The Great Measure-up: Meeting Report
There was an attendance of around 12, including a new member, Graham Bould, who is already contributing to the public's knowledge of NZ shells by his excellent contributions to Wikipedia on the Internet. Welcome aboard!

Martin Walker commenced the meeting with a brief introduction on the history of the keeping of world size records from van Nostrands catalogues starting in the 1960s through to the current registry of World Record Size shells (WRS).
Peter Poortman updated the meeting on the Club's website initiative where are now stored (and updated) our own World Size Records of New Zealand shells. It gives the official WRS current record and includes records we know of (from our members) which in many cases exceed the WRS sizes. Peter also described how people can submit their records to himself or Luen Jones for inclusion, and also how to submit to WRS to record the shell onto the "world stage".
It should be noted that looking up the current records on the CSAMI website is very simple as is registering your potential new record. Peter has also made sure this list is up-to-date with the latest names and families of the included species (so people like Martin who still think Monoplex australasiae is a valid shell name can be appropriately updated and brought into the 21st century!).
This list also tells us (by the skillful use of an "E") whether the species is a NZ endemic or not. If it is not endemic the WRS is frequently from somewhere other than NZ.
The list then includes the biggest known example from New Zealand waters.

Further, there is a separate listing started here as part of the same project, which lists (without size) sinistral (left-handed spiral) examples of NZ species.
If you have a sinistral example of a NZ shell which is normally dextral (right-handed spiral) then let Peter know about it. As with the record sizes it doesn't matter about shell condition (and in this case size doesn't matter either). Please list them all with Peter - so far there are about 15 examples nationwide (including a few from the Te Papa National Museum collection).
We hope to hear of more as people get to know about this listing place. It doesn't matter if there is one listed already of your species, we want to know of ALL of them! Te Papa has two sinistral Lunella smaragda it seems, but let us know if you have one also - it may prove to be a conspiracy!
By the way, a dextral example of a normally sinistral species is equally welcome on the list.

The great measure-up
Peter had brought a tray of NZ specimens which had previously been measured. These were ALL current world record size shells!

The largest NZ gastropod on the evening was Margaret Morley's Penion cuvieranus at 218.7mm. This was one of a number of shells that were dropped at Margaret's front door very early one morning in 1983 by a fisherman stranger who had trawled them over many years from NW North Island - he then disappeared and was never seen again by Margaret! The shell was very closely contested by Peter's huge Tonna tankervillii (ex T. cerevisina) from Leigh which measured 217.3mm.

Largest NZ bivalve: Margaret's 320mm Atrina zelandica from Tennyson Inlet.
Largest NZ scaphopod: Peter's 101.5mm Fissidentalium zelandicum.
Largest NZ chiton: Peter's 111.1mm Eudoxochiton nobilis from Kaikoura.
Smallest Struthiolaria papulosa with mature lip: Martin's 51.0mm specimen from Waikawau Bay, NE Coromandel.

Then we moved onto any NZ species where someone thought they might have one to challenge the current WRS. This is where use of the callipers got serious! If a WRS was likely we took digital photos so we could register the shell with WRS. About 10 shells qualified on the night! Pipi, Cockle, Toheroa and Tuatua all got an outing here - I wish they could be found that size these days!
Paphies australe: 94.5mm, Urquhart's Bay, Whangarei - Margaret.
Paphies ventricosum: 164.7mm, no data - M Walker. This world record lasted only 30 seconds until Margaret's Toheroa was measured as follows.
Paphies ventricosum: 169.0mm, Muriwai Beach - Margaret 1992.
Austrovenus stuchburyi: 69.0mm, no data - Martin.
Solemya parkinsoni: 75.8mm, Fiordland - Margaret.
Macomona liliana: 75.2mm, One Tree Point, Whangarei - Martin 1967.
Cominella glandiformis: 38.3mm, Coromandel - Margaret.
Monodilepas diemenensis: 17.0mm, C Maria van Diemen - Martin 1967.
Amphibola crenata: 39.0mm, Muriwai Beach, Gisborne - Martin 1969.
Nerita melanotragus: 33.3mm, Cornwallis: Martin. (This shell was brought into the meeting LIVE. It was actually 33.5mm when collected 18 months ago but it has shrunk a little in its aquarium home.)
Cymatium exaratum: 55.8mm, Herne Bay (ex dredgings from deeper water in Hauraki Gulf). This had been collected live by Luen Jones just a few days earlier.

WW species ...
Harpa gracilis: 500mm - Luen Jones. This is already registered and in the latest registry book.
Amaea teremachi: 52.3mm, Philippines - Luen which is a WRS but not yet registered with WRS.
Apart from that Martin was just about the only one who bought any foreign shells along...
Gastropoda, Syrinx aruanus: 610mm, Timor Strait - Martin purchased 1975.
Scaphopoda, Fissidentalium vicdani: 131.9mm, Philippines - Martin.
Cephalopoda, Sepia sp: 380mm - Martin.
Landsnail, Achatina achatina: 174mm, Guinea, Africa - Martin.
Freshwater gastropod Pomacea sp: 107.4mm, Amazon River, Brazil - Martin.
Largest calcareous operculum: Martin's 88.0mm Turbo sp, no data.
Largest chitinous operculum: Martin's Pleuroploca gigantea.
Smallest mature lip on any species normally immature at that size: Doug's Cypraea tigris, approx 45mm.
Sinistral: Martin's Placostylus ambagiosus priscus, C Maria van Diemen.
Thanks to Martin once again for his brilliant note taking in Jan's absence.


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