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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - March 2001

Glenys welcomed everyone to the meeting.

LAND SNAIL VIDEO
After a few minor hiccups, like the sound being silent, we were able to see the video on land snails. It told the story of the introduction in Polynesia of the large African snail Achatina for food about the time of world war 2. This species is devastating to crops and garden plants. It was decided to introduce a smaller carnivorous snail Euglandina. Unfortunately this predator targeted the smaller endemic snails Partula rather than Achatina.
Partula
are a large group (110 species) of snails living on small isolated high islands. They are mostly arboreal, living in trees and on the underside of large leaved plants. Some are sinistral, some dextral. This is a disadvantage because the two cannot mate.
There were some excellent close up footage of the animals. The long bodied and faster moving Euglandina tracked Partula by following its slime trail. On many islands the previously common Partula were rapidly wiped out.
Scientists found some survivors which were taken to England for breeding. They thrived on porridge! Later some were reintroduced to the Society Islands in a predator free enclosure. We did not see the outcome but it did not seem to be optimistic.
Thanks to Bruce Hazelwood for bringing the video and to Peter who got the equipment functioning properly.

Doug, Joan and Margaret brought in trays of land snails which included the species in the video. Peter also had a tray on display.

AUCTION
Cancel both May dates in the last newsletter, it has been rescheduled for September. Dates and details (maybe!) later.

NEW MEMBERS
We welcome new members, Jack and Nina Godden, 41 Rivendell Place, Warkworth. They emigrated from England last year and have contacts with Glandford Shell Museum in Norfolk and the curator of molluscs at the British Museum, Kathie Way.

EXCHANGE SHELLS
Antonio Luis has world wide species of marine, land and fresh water. Email your list to sanaal@mail.telepac.pt. His email reads, I still, expecting your answer, soon as possible to you.

SHELL SHOW
Wellington Shell Club have booked the Lower Hutt town hall for 25-27 January 2002. Put this in your diary, it is Auckland anniversary weekend. Start planning your entries!!

FOR SALE
1. Derek Lamb has some Shell show display cases for sale. Enquiries/make an offer.
2. Noel Gardner has a dissecting binocular microscope in excellent condition for sale. It is a Cook Throughton Sims, 7x15 magnification with lights, $150. For both these items Ph Noel (09) 480 9360.

URGENT SALE
Peggy Town has 2 wooden shell cabinets in excellent condition for sale.
1. Width , depth 46cm, height 93cm . It has 13 drawers, is lockable and on castors, $50 ONO
2. Width 122cm, depth 43cm, height 128cm, It has 38 drawers in 2 vertical rows, $200 ONO.
Peggy needs these sold as soon as possible, she moves this month. Phone her now or you may miss out (09) 489 8186. She also has some small to medium sized glass topped trays suitable for shell show displays. These are free.

WANTED
Has anyone any 2 litre icecream containers (empty!) or similar to spare? Phone Margaret 576 8323.

OVERDUE SUBSCRIPTIONS
If you have a final reminder slip with this newsletter please pay promptly, (of course you want to renew!).

May meeting
Doug Snook plans to give a talk entitled "Sannibel Island revisited", however his long awaited heart valve replacement operation has just been done, so we wish him a speedy recovery.

FIELD TRIP, Sunday April 8, South Muriwai
This is a combined trip with the Geology Club. It is important to be on time as arrangements have been made to go through private property. Meet at the junction of Oaia and Waitea roads, at the very top of the hill above Maori Bay, Muriwai at 2.30pm sharp. A moderate degree of fitness is needed for this trip. We will descend a stairway down the cliffs to Powell Bay, spring low tide 4.30pm, weather permitting the more agile will be able to clamber around rocks to Bartrum Bay as well. You can choose whether to learn about the Miocene sequence, including trace fossils and rare deep water fossils or explore the recent marine life on low tide rocks and pools. If the weather is inclement ring Bruce Hayward 523 1667 between 12.30 and 1pm for possible cancellation.

Newspaper quote from 1886.
On landing at the Saddleback, an offshore island at New Plymouth; "You immediately become aware by the crunching noise under foot that the act of landing has sealed the fate of a score of unoffending periwinkles; as you skirt the foot of this remarkable islet you continue to carry death and destruction at every step. It seems hard on the lowly shellfish that they should be deprived of their lives simply because someone wants to walk, but I suppose it is more important that a human being should walk than that a nation of periwinkles should live. Judging from the dull existence they lead fastened on the rocks, I should say they do not lose much by being prematurely crushed to death."

NEXT MEETING
Tuesday 10 April 7:30pm. Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Entry by the Administration door between 7:15 and 7:30pm. No late admittance.
Margaret Morley will be speaking on the changes to the diversity, quantity and size of the molluscs at Howick Beach since the 1950ís. Bring your own observations and ideas on the causes.
Please bring a tray of Olividae New Zealand or overseas or any other items of interest.

Margaret Morley: Ph (09) 576 8323
Email: Peter Poortman: Ph (09) 817 5697
Website: Conchology Section website

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