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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - October 2001

Mike Hart spoke on his 10 day diving and dredging trip in October 2001 to Swains Reef and the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. This is the third trip done by a group of shell enthusiasts comprising the skipper, deckhand and 14 collectors. Their occupations ranged from baker, an ex-abalone diver (Haliotis Bob), a shell dealer to three doctors. Mike assured us that this was no holiday they had little sleep as diving and dredging happened around the clock. We were not too sympathetic!
Swains Reef is 300 km out from Gladstone, north of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia. The trip had to be timed to sail through the complex maze of reef systems in daylight. The main object of this trip was to collect volutes. The spoils were divided up by ballot. Specimens were put in sea water and meths for cleaning on return. Mike’s tray showed how successful they were, although there were no volutes on Marion Reef. They struck a gale of 40 knot winds.
50 000 reports a year of Ciguatera poisoning are received, 1% of the victims die so it is a major problem. It occurs when there is a proliferation of dinoflagellates which affect the herbivorous fish concentrating down the food chain to carnivorous fish. Pelagic fish are the least affected. Symptoms include severe vomiting, pains and neural temperature reversal, ie. hot feeling cold and vice versa. His tip for preventing infections in coral cuts is to use tea tree oil.
Mikes beautiful tray included Amoria maculata, Cymbiola perplicata, Cymbiolacca excelsior, Conus floccatus, Murex queenslandicus, Strombus gibberulus clergyi and Harpa major.
Glenys was quite overcome when she realised all the participants were men and immediately started checking her dive gear and making a list for the next trip to rectify the imbalance! If female you may phone her to express an interest!
Thank you Mike for the Rat Pack Trips brochures and the tantalising talk.

Bruce Hazelwood has been to Great Barrier Island collecting land snails. He has over 30 bags of leaf litter to sort. Thanks to Mark Tapply who has kindly donated books and shells to the club.
Glenys renewed the call for nominations for 2002 positions. Rae’s birthday was celebrated. Auction feedback- please have your shells in individual boxes or bags as some of the dividers fell apart and data was lost. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to recycle shells and enjoyed meeting others. A small profit was made after expenses were paid.

Thirteen members and friends enjoyed a warm, sunny trip to the Mahia Peninsula. The tides were low and interesting marine life exposed. Glenys takes the top prize for a perfect Argonauta nodosa. Other finds were Philippa lutea, Cellana flava, Buccinulum colensoi, wandering anemones, octopus, nudibranch Phidiana milleri and more seaweed than was ideal for snorkelling!
Bruce Hayward and Hugh Grenfell towed the boat to Mahia. Three areas were dredged, some of these are still to be sorted, but we did not bring up a great variety of species. One area on the east coast was all rock to 18 m! Much identification remains to prepare for a publication. Many thanks to everyone who supplied their finds to expand the species list. Any written lists or post trip identifications would be appreciated. It was good to meet Carol Cowan, a Wellington Shell Club member, who lives in Mahia.
Thanks to Margaret who organised the camp bookings.

A New Zealand collection. This is to build up my own collection, not for trading purposes. I also require Powell’s “New Zealand Mollusca” 1979. Ph. Peter Poortman (09) 817 5697.

Glass display cabinets (wall mounted), adjustable glass shelves, velvet lined sides all 690 mm high x 610 mm wide, depths - 7 @ 120 mm, 1 @170 mm $60, 5 @ 280 mm, 2 @ 220 mm $80. $750 the lot. Ph. Barbara Jouvernaux for details (07) 827 7808.
Quantities of plastic boxes with lids for storing or displaying shells. Where to obtain or buy? Ph. Barbara or write 743 Brunskill Rd. RD4 Cambridge.

The club library is in Mataapuna, Oceans gallery on the first floor of the Museum, not in the main library, which is not available during all Museum opening hours. See previous newsletters.

A.G.M. 11 December 2001
Your support at this meeting is important. Please make every effort to come. We will be making future decisions for the club and enjoying the usual Christmas supper and a slide show.

Nominations are greatly needed for 2002. Positions vacant will be president, treasurer, secretary, newsletter writer and committee members. Contact any committee member for more information, to nominate or to volunteer.

Tuesday 13 November 7:30pm. Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Entry by the Administration door between 7:15 and 7:30pm. No late admittance.

The topic by a mixed crew will be the recent visit to New Caledonia. There will be slides to illustrate the van tour round the island, fantastic digital prints and trays of shells. Hear about the nautilus at the famous aquarium. Please bring a tray of New Caledonia or Pacific shells, those Mahia specials, recent finds or items of general interest.

There will be a committee meeting prior to the main meeting at 6.30 pm sharp. We promise to open the door! Pizza will be provided.

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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