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Newsletter - October 2014

September Meeting
Heather began our focus on Volutidae by speaking about Australian Volutes.
Australia has 1/3 of the worlds Volutes, with 85-90 species plus many more subspecies. Cymbiola and Amoria are by far the largest genera. Only three Aussie genera are also represented outside Australia, and only one species (Melo umbilicatus) is found outside Australia - in the Philippines. The vast majority of Aussie Volutes are found on the east coast. All species except one (Melo amphora) are found on either the east coast or the west coast. IE. not on both coasts.
Volutes reproduce by direct development from eggs, with no planktonic spread. Although there are initially many eggs in each egg capsule, only one or two develop - by consuming all the others. Embryos hatch as crawling snails, which are carnivorous on other invertebrates and other molluscs.
Direct development from eggs greatly limits dispersal, so Volutes tend to form somewhat isolated communities that evolve into different forms and species. An interesting book by Volute expert Allan Limpus depicts on a map where each Australian species is located. And Trevor Appleton had a Shell Show display showing where all the different forms of a particular Volute come from. Studies suggest that all Australian Volute genera had their origins in the middle Tertiary period - about 40 million years ago. Apparently these early Volute species spread all around the world prior to their evolution of direct development.
As always Heather brought in stunning displays of Volutes from New Zealand, Australia, and worldwide. She also brought in trays showing the many variations of Alcithoe arabica, plus a tray of shells she had self-collected on her regular expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef.
Her talk was illustrated with a colourful slideshow, and five picture books of her trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

Peter then spoke about our New Zealand Volutes, firstly with some interesting trivia about Alcithoe ...
. Species of Alcithoe first appeared in the fossil record about 28 million years ago.
. New Zealand has 37 extinct Cenozoic species, and 19 Recent species.
. 30-40 years ago not much was known about NZ Volutes, but since deep water commercial and research trawling our knowledge has greatly increased.
. Alcithoe are only found in New Zealand, plus one species on the northern part of the Norfolk Ridge.
. Alcithoe species occur all around NZ from low tide to more than 1000m. Mostly in the 50-350m range.
. Most species secrete a purple fluid which sometimes colours the shell.
. The shape of the postlaval protoconch is not the true protoconch, but only the scar of a deciduous horny protoconch. The true protoconch is shed when the juvenile is still inside the egg capsule.

These were just a few of the interesting facts he found in the excellent 2005 publication by Patrice Bail and Allan Limpus. 'The Recent Volutes of New Zealand (A Conchological Iconography)' is an essential book for anyone who is serious about collecting NZ Volutes.
Peter then spoke about each of the New Zealand Volute species. This was illustrated with pictures from his website (www.nzshells.net.nz), and also a selection of rare and interesting shells from his shell collection.
Some attendees had also brought in some rare and interesting NZ Volutes for display and identification.

Margaret Morley Receives Associate Emerita Medal
On Tuesday 23/Sep Margaret Morley was awarded an Associate Emerita Medal at the Auckland Museum.
This award was in recognition of her 22 years of voluntary work. Her contribution included the cataloguing of 3000 species, identification of 8500 specimen lots, participation in more than 900 field trips around New Zealand, and mollusc collecting in the Kermadec Islands, subantarctic islands, and Chatham Island. Most of her finds were added to the Auckland Museum collection.
Margaret has also helped with exhibitions, assisted postgraduate students, authored or co-authored an impressive number of scientific articles and research papers on marine fauna, and is currently working on Ostracods (marine "water fleas"). In 2004 she wrote the book 'A Photographic Guide to Sea Shells of New Zealand'.

Margaret we congratulate you on all your achievements, and thank you for your enormous contribution to the Auckland Shell Club for almost 30 years!

Walter Oliver Cernohorsky
Members will be saddened to learn that Walter passed away peacefully on September 23 aged 87 years.
Walter was Marine Curator at the Auckland Museum from 1972 to 1990, and was a world expert on Pacific Mollusca. His three volumes 'Marine Shells of the Pacific' are classics which are still very useful to collectors. He also wrote books on his specialist family, Nassariidae, as well as many scientific papers.
While he was Marine Curator he used to let members of the Conchology Section in and out of the Museum for our meetings. He was very willing to identify problem species, but if we stayed too long talking he used to flick the lights off as a not too subtle hint to leave!
Walter was an architect, and had worked as Chief Surveyor for the Emperor Gold Mining Company. In more recent years he became involved in heraldry. He was Patron of our club for many years, and his malacology books and papers continue to be greatly appreciated. Our condolences to his family.

A Message From The President
The Auckland Shell Club has seen a steady decline in meeting numbers for many years. There has also been a corresponding decline in contributions to Poirieria magazine and all other facets of our club in general. It takes time and effort to keep the club running. Peter has been amazing with the work he is doing for the club every month - newsletter writing and mailing, setting up the venue for each meeting, tea and coffee at meetings, data projector, etc. But he is unwilling to continue with these duties next year. For me, I have had to remain as President well beyond the 3 year limit, and I too am somewhat discouraged by the lack of member participation.
Is anyone willing to volunteer for the above-mentioned duties so that we can keep going as we have done in the past? We will need to look hard at the future of the club, and welcome your ideas for what we can do in 2015 and beyond. Wellington club meets in private homes once a month, and each member has a turn at playing host. Do we have a meeting once every 2 months instead of every month? Please think about it and let us know if you have any suggestions. We may need to make some difficult decisions at our AGM in December.
Heather

Next Meeting Tuesday 14th October - Auckland Museum
We are meeting at the Museum. Please be at the Southern end of the Museum by 7:20pm for Wilma to let us in at 7:30pm. If you are late you could phone Wilma on 3067921 and she will come down and let you in.
This will be a relaxed meeting in the Marine Department, viewing whatever we choose. And we may also be able to have a quick preview of the Drier Collection Shells. As usual, supper will be provided.

Shell Auction Saturday 25th October (Labour Weekend)
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. Viewing will commence at 10am, and the auction will commence at 1pm. Sales tables will be available from 10:00am to 12:30am.
Sellers please ensure that your lots are labelled with the lot number, and all set up prior to 10am.
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. Payment is required on the day (cash or cheque only).
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 2015
This will be held on 16-18/January/2015 at the Petone Club in Udy Street, Petone, Lower Hutt.
Show classes, rules & registration form, and transport & accommodation information are now available from the Wellington Shell Club website at www.wellingtonshellclub.org.nz.

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.

Other News
. 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.

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