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Newsletter - October 2012

September Meeting
Doug Snook has been busy photographing his huge collection of worldwide shells.
Photos of approximately 500 trays now fill a weighty photo album that Doug brought in to the meeting.
He also brought in some trays of cowries, the subject of his talk to the small number of members present.

Australia is the richest area in the world for cowries.
Cypraeidae are typically a tropical family, but some species live at depths of greater than 100 meters.
Evidently the amount of food available in the environment will determine the cowries adult size, however some species are naturally small.
Cowrie shells are typically very glossy because the animal's mantle almost entirely covers the shell.
But unfortunately the shell is susceptible to byne's "disease", a corrosion caused by acidic vapours which are commonly emitted from the wooden cabinets in which the shells are stored.

Some species are very expensive to buy because of their rarity, but as more are dredged up the price will drop.
In the past this high value led to the manufacture of artificial shells which were sometimes excessively over-sized. Those fake shells have subsequently become collectors items in their own right.
Tom Rice's Catalogue of shell prices still gives a good indication of cowrie values, depending on their rarity and condition. Dealers list about 700 species, arguably more than have actually been described.

Doug displayed a very nice book titled "World Seashells Of Rarity And Beauty". This contains many high quality life sized pictures of shells including a large variety of cowries.
He also mentioned a study of Cypraea annulus at Heron Island (Gt Barrier Reef) which showed that in one year, none of the 550 marked specimens ranged more than 5 meters.

Some general discussion then ensued, including mention by Betty Headford of a shell wash-up at Hatfields Beach (near Orewa) in July. Interestingly the wash-up included numerous specimens of the slipper shell Maoricrypta sodalis, some of which Betty had brought in to show us.

Peter Poortman then showed a variety of sea life videos, mainly featuring molluscs.

Next Meeting Tuesday 9th of October
Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue, Epsom at 7:30pm (doors open 7pm).
Peter Poortman will give us a tour of the huge variety of shell related websites.

The internet is a fantastic resource for shell collectors. It contains such things as ... up to date checklists of NZ and worldwide species, information and pictures of almost every species, identification guides, collecting guides, numerous database and collection listings, scientific publications, shells for sale by dealers and collectors, regular shell auctions, club websites, import/export regulations, etc.

It can also provide very useful indirect information such as tide tables, marine conditions and forecasts, Google Earth & Street View, local beach resanding projects, etc. to help plan your shelling trips.

For display, please bring in shells that you have purchased on the internet.

Shell Auction - Albany Hall, Saturday 27th October 2012
Our annual Shell Auction will again be held at the Albany Hall, 3-21 Library Lane, Albany.
. Helpers are needed to set up the hall from 9am 10am.
. Sales tables will be available from 10:00am to 11:30am.
. Sellers please ensure that your lots are labelled with the lot number, and all set up prior to 10am.
. Viewing will commence at 10am, and the auction will start at midday - one hour earlier than normal because of the large number of lots.
. Intending bidders please register with auction staff at 11:30pm as the auction will commence promptly at midday. Payment is required on the day (cash or cheque only).
. Light refreshments will be made available to members, however feel free to bring your own lunch. There are many eating places nearby.
. This year there are 304 lots. All care has been taken with labelling of the lots, however the Club cannot guarantee information. Changes to the schedule, if any, will be notified prior to the auction.
. Proxy bids should be emailed to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com or posted to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604. If successful you will be sent an invoice via post/email (including any packaging and postal charges) which must be paid in full before the items are despatched.

New Zealand Shell Show 2013
This will again be held at Te Tuhi Center for the Arts in Pakuranga, Auckland, on 3rd - 5th May 2013.
A schedule will be sent to all members in early November.
Peter Poortman (petermwp@gmail.com or 09 817 1397) is the contact for this.

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.
Luen, our librarian, is currently doing a stocktake. Can members please return any library books/videos/etc that they may have, or just let him know what you have. IE. The book name, the club id number on it, and if possible the year of publication.
Luens contact details are: wildhoney@slingshot.co.nz or (09) 834 5195 (after hours).

Items of Interest
. During her travels in Australia, Heather attended the Brisbane Shell Club meeting. They have room available on their East Diamond Reef (Coral Sea) shelling trip that will leave from Gladstone on 10/November, and return 22/November. If anyone is interested in joining that adventure they should contact Heather on hsmith@ix.net.nz.

. Neville Hudson advises that a new online Types Catalogue from the National Museum of Wales might be of interest to Shell Club members. So far, all Types included in their catalogue are modern molluscs and it also includes a number of New Caledonian Placostylus types. See http://naturalhistory.museumwales.ac.uk/molluscatypes/Home.php.

. Leslie Crnkovic, a collector in Houston Texas, is interested in trading shells. His email id is leslie@harf.org.

. As part of a wider study of the genus Cominella, Hamish Spencer requires some ethanol preserved live taken specimens of the Norfolk Island endemic species Cominella norfolkensis. If you are going to Norfolk Island and would be willing to collect these whelks, please contact Hamish at h.spencer@otago.ac.nz. He will send you the details, including collection materials and the necessary documentation.

. 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.

Your club needs you!
Volunteers are required for some of the clubs more active positions - in particular the roles of President, Newsletter Editor, & Porieria Editor.
If you have the time and the skills for any of these positions then we would like to hear from you.
Please contact Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com or (09) 817 1397.

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