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Newsletter - October 2008

November Meeting
Heather Smith shall speak on her very recent trip to the Frederick Reefs with a small group of Australian shellers.
Frederick Reefs is one part of the Coral Sea Islands Territory of Australia (off the coast of Queensland out beyond Great Barrier Reef itself). The Frederick Reefs form a semi-enclosed lagoon, known as Anchorage Sound, with an opening on the north side. The complex measures about 10 x 4 km with an area of 30 km2. On the southern side of the reef lies Observatory Cay, the only permanently dry land.
Heather will have only been back a few days but hopes to have her photos ready for the meeting!
Guaranteed to be another great night on Tuesday, 11th November 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.

Additional meeting information - time permitting ...
The DVDs we had lined up for the October meeting were way too much material for one evening. We had seen less than half of them before it was time to wrap up the evening, have a cup of tea, and give everyone a chance to do all the note-swapping and catching up that traditionally happens after our meetings!
So, in whatever time we have left after Heather, we hope to play some more of this material, and, at the very least the DVD "Snail" from Solid Energy New Zealand about the Powelliphanta capture and relocation programme in the strange stunted tablelands of Denniston Plateau, northern Westland.

Assistance Required with the monthly newsletter mailout
Jan has relented and shall continue to type and format the newsletter (unless there is a keen taker!), however does require someone to reduce her workload by being responsible for photocopying and mailing out the monthly newsletter, and Poirieria.
If you are able to help please let Jan or Martin know - it would be great if someone is able to take this on for the new year.

2009 Shell Show
It's time to start thinking about entries for next year's Shell Show ...
First time exhibitors are particularly encouraged to put in entries. Spare display trays are available, and single specimen boxes can be made simply by painting a shoe box and making a plastic lid out of plastic sheets (available from stationery shops).
Details of competition categories are available on our website, or contact Peter Poortman direct.

For Sale
Shell Cabinets for Sale: Two large 9 draw shell cabinets. Each cabinet 980mm W, 620mm D, 840mm H. Drawers various depths. Can be stacked one on top of the other. Alternatively if placed back to back they provide a large work area. $400 for the two, will sell seperately but prefer to sell as a pair. Contact Neville Hudson if interested.

October's Meeting
For those who missed last month's meeting we had another great evening with an array of different topics including ...
Margaret Morley again had some wonderful snippets of information:
Firstly she had brought in a glass jar some 10mm Elysia maoria on seaweed. They were quite difficult to see as they were well camouflaged on the seaweed they were on. A magnifying glass was also supplied to assist!

The ARC has now published a paper on the Tamaki Estuary of which Margaret and Bruce Hayward are co-authors.

Following the Club's 75th anniversary in 2005, Margaret and Heather Smith accompanied by Heather's twin sister, Alison headed north to Parengarenga Harbour whereapon Margaret came across a mucusy white slug approximately 25mm in length. Margaret realised this was something unusual and brought it back with her. Following her investigation she found that the slug Melanochlamys lorrainae (named by Bill Rudman) had not been collected for 40 years. Other collectors had included Norman Douglas (Wattle Bay) and Bev Elliot. Wilma Blom at the Museum became interested and the investigation was on to see a) how common the slug was and b) whether it was related to the common black slug. Lynette Hellyer and
Margaret became involved in observing the  black slug at aquariums set up at home. DNA tests were commenced by interested parties in America. The results - a 14% difference, meaning that the white slug was in fact a different species from the black. A paper has been published by Pat Krug, Jamal Asif (the team that completed the DNA research) with co-authors Lynette Hellyar, Wilma Blom and Margaret Morley.

Peter Poortman brought along a huge freshwater mussel, Cristaria herculea (290mm) he had obtained from a market in Zhuo Zhuang (Jiangsu province) during a recent trip to China.
At Suzhou (Jiangsu Province) Peter visited the Huadong Pearl Centre where he learned that freshwater pearls are a huge industry in China.
Approximately 90% of the world production comes from China, and the quantity and quality has improved greatly over the last 20 years. He saw a range of shapes, sizes and colours including golden pearls which are the rarest and most valuable.
Most freshwater pearls now come from the species Hyriopsis cumingii which can individually produce more than 30 pearls over six years. Prices have dropped dramatically over the last 20 years, and a good quality pearl necklace can now be bought for about NZ$30.
See for more information about freshwater pearls.
The pearl centre also displayed a life-sized replica of the largest pearl in the world - the Pearl of Lao Tzu. About the size and shape of a football which was found in a giant clam in 1934 off the coast of Palawan Island, Philippines. Even though it looks quite ugly, the real pearl (which is held in a vault in the US) is valued at around $40-60 million!

A DVD containing snippets of news briefs concerning mollusc related stories was played thanks to Martin Walker's time and effort. We also viewed the story of the recent finding of the giant squid in Antarctic waters.

Member's News
Feedback from Neville Hudson: I had a great time in North America. Over nearly 3 weeks I travelled from Vancouver to New York by train spending time in Jasper (in the middle of the Rocky Mountains), Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City and Washington DC along the way. Then flew across the continent to San Francisco. From there flew to Las Vegas for one night followed by a day trip to the western rim of the Grand Canyon and a late evening flight back to San Francisco. Saw an amazing amount of wildlife from the train, including black bears, moose, golden & bald eagles and bighorn sheep.
Welcome back Neville - glad to hear you had a great time ... you deserve it!

A request from Mr Philip Heath, Auckland Museum Institute
I am researching the activity of Colonel Daniel Bolton, Commanding Royal Engineer, New Zealand, 1847-53.
He collected shells whilst in New Zealand and it is said he contributed a number to the Reverend William Yate's known collection. Of particular interest to Bolton was Trochus Imperialis. I suppose without proof that Henry Gardiner Adams' comments in his book Beautiful Shells, 1855, may have originated from correspondence with Bolton: The Imperial Trochus, T. imperialis, Fig. 4, whose scientific name explains itself, is one of the handsomest shells of the genus; it is very rare, and has hitherto been found only at New Zealand.
Likewise and Samuel Griswold Goodrich's commented in 1859 and the T. Imperialis is found only at New Zealand, and here it is rare; the shell is very beautiful, the whorls rising in a depressed cone.
Having followed Governors Grey and Wynyard to the Cape Colony, Bolton died of a stroke there in 1860. The whereabouts of his estate is difficult to trace. I have not been able to locate Yate's collections (perhaps British Museum?) or even what happened to Bolton's collections and wonder if any of your members may know.
If you are able to assist Mr Heath, please contact direct at email


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