Dr. Edward Petuch, has donated many books from his library to the Broward Shell Club. Ed recently retired from Florida Atlantic University, where he was a professor of Geology in the Department of Geosciences. Being the vibrant speaker Ed is, his students will miss him. While I was picking up the books, one of his former students told me the department will not be the same without him.
Long known by many of the members of the Broward Shell Club, since he was a graduate student at the University of Miami, Ed has named over 1200 species of Recent and Fossil mollusks and written 17 books. Ed has had a close relationship to many of our club members, naming many species of shells for both Alice and Bob Pace, Kevan and Linda Sunderland, Lynda Zylman and myself including others.
Many thanks to Ed for his generous donation to our club. Some are already ready for check out in our library.
At the Broward Shell Show this year, banquet and program attendees had the opportunity to select the world’s most beautiful scallop species. They were shown 150 of the world’s largest and most beautiful species from which to choose. And choose they did, and here are the results!
Participants (over 50 altogether) cast votes for 32 species from among the 150+ species shown. Tenth place was a three way tie between mirifica/thaanumi, farreri, and antillarum. Ninth place was the wonderous and rare cranmerorum from Somalia. Eighth place was the beautiful delicate dianae from Okinawa. Seventh place went to the brightly colored langfordi, a Hawaiian endemic. Sixth place was Florida native pellucens, long known as imbricata, and this may still prove to be its correct name. Fifth place went to the elegant swifti of northern Japan and Siberia. Fourth place winner was magnifica, the giant red scallop endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Third place winner was the uniquely refined and brightly colored speciosus of Japan.
Second place winner was glaber, the Mediterranean scallop which displays endless hues of color and endless patterns. It received only one less vote than the winner.
What, might you ask, could top the beauty and variation found in glaber? Well, among Florida collectors there has always been a favorite scallop, and this vote showed that Floridians fervently believe that this scallop is also the most beautiful scallop in the world. This scallop has it all! Great size, great colors, and great variation in its patterns. That scallop is, of course, fragosus, the Florida lion’s paw, and it truly is a marvel of nature!
Just released, hot off the press. You can purchase your copy of this beautiful book with full page color photograps direct from the publishers, Conch Republic Books. The price for Individual books is 39.95 plus postage about $2.85 each and Florida sales tax from your county. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone to order 352-516-7821. My copy has been ordered and will review in the near future.
During her husband’s military career, Sonny Ogden’s family was stationed in Micronesia’s Marshall Islands on Kwajalein Atoll for three years. Measured by lagoon size Kwajalein is the world’s largest coral atoll, its 97 islands surrounding an immense 2175 sq km body of water. It is located in the middle of the South Pacific, 2136 miles from Hawaii, 2300 miles from New Guinea and 2300 miles from Tokyo. Living in Kwajalein was paradise, with fishing, snorkeling, sailing and diving in abundance.
Sonny had been told about a giant clam [Tridacna gigas], an endangered species, living on one of the coral heads in a nearby lagoon. On April 6, 1967, she planned to photograph the shell while on a dive trip but when her dive party arrived at the coral head, they discovered the shell lying on its side, dead. Greatly disappointed, they took pictures and that is when Sonny decided she wanted to collect the shell, a huge undertaking! The Giant Clam was located in 20 feet of water, so wearing scuba gear and utilizing air bags, they lifted the shell to the surface of the water. It took four people to lift the shell into their boat. Sonny was the proud owner of a very large Killer Clam, Sonny’s nickname for her new giant shell!
In 1969, when her family moved back to the USA, Sonny’s enormous clam, weighing 328 pounds, over 3 feet wide and 2 feet high, was packed in a crate and shipped back with their belongings to the United States , where they settled in Pompano Beach, Florida. Sonny exhibited her Killer Clam at the 2011 Broward Shell Show, winning first prize in the Scientific Self-Collected category.
Sonny’s Killer Clam is now the Broward Shell Show Mascot and will be displayed at our upcoming Broward Shell Show on January 21-22, 2012. Please join us at the show and take your picture with the Killer Clam!!
Ed Sossen, a past member-but-still-club-supporter wanted to share this with us. Ed was recently at an antique show in Miami where he noticed a Tiger Cowrie – a common $1.00 “bin shell” on a dealer’s table with a price tag of $200! When Ed asked why the high price the dealer replied….”well, just look at the quality, they don’t make them like that anymore”……
I was asked about a trip report to Florida this Christmas. Let’s just start with the good news, it was SPECTACULAR. We went to Sanibel for 5 days and oneday on Honeymoon/Caladesi Island. We had wonderfully low tides thanks to the full moon (we had a lunar eclipse too, which must mean the sun and moon were cooperating especially well together).
The first impressions of Sanibel this year were the huge number of echinoderms on the beach… urchins, sea beans, starfish, and brittle stars. Lots of Pens too. On the central Sanibel beaches I found (mostly left) plenty of the regular-numerous Fasciolaria lilium and hunteria (both alive and cleaned), large live Pleuroploca gigantea and fewer dead small ones, lots of Oliva sayana, few Murex this year, and of course lots of Busycon, both species alive and cleaned. In the Lightning Welks the largest live one I saw was maybe a 12 inch specimen, I did bring back an empty gem that was maybe 9 inches (and a larger less-than- perfect specimen). Lots of Ficus communis, empty and with dead or living animal and a few Vericularia at Blind pass. I found a few cones (C. spurious (5, but only 1 good) and C. floridanus), but my wife did better than I with two spectacular ones. I also did find a small fragment of a Junonia. A women I had met at Blind pass found 1 and I got a Junonia in just two days! I found a few Cancellaria reticulata a couple of fragments of Phalium granulatium both on Sanibel and Cayo Casta and a nice little Lion’s Paw also on Cayo Casta.
A rather magical event. I was up early before the crowds at the Pleuroploca gigantea colony taking photos of the animals. I was returning to the hotel and met my wife and daughter going out to the beach. The beach was now covered with active shellers looking for prizes so I really didn’t think I’d find much in the way of non-living shells. At about the same time I met a women with her kids who had fairly recently lost her husband. She was a sweet woman and we talked a bit about her husband, how she missed him and how this trip was part of her healing process. We parted after which I saw the top of a Pleuroploca gigantea buried in the sand. I assumed it was also alive but was amazed when I turned it over to find it was actually an empty 11 inch specimen with some worm damage. My first ever dead Horse Conch over 6 inches! I was admiring my prize when I thought about the woman. After thinking about it figured I really should give the Horse Conch to her. As I approached her I saw that her son had also found one, this one an absolute gem and even a touch larger than the one I had found! And this on a crowded beach! Sanibel magic at it’s best. On Honeymoon Island the find was a 7 inch half eaten large red Fasciolaria tulipa (there were live ones too). We took the boat to Caladesi Island which was truly lovely. Certainly the loveliest Strombus alatus I’ve ever seen (hundreds of them), from gorgeous dark chestnut specimens through to a spineless wonder. My daughter insisted that we throw back all the living specimens we came across so I literally threw back several hundred (my poor arm). I found both C. spurus and C. floridanus and what I think is a fossil C. jaspideus, and thousands and thousands of Turbo castanea including one golden one. My daughter kept helping herself to the Turbo castanea until I thought my back would break! A few baby Pleuroploca gigantea and the regular Busycon and Olives. It was also nice to find a few whole pairs of empty Macrocallista maculata (one of my favorite Bivalves to find) and large M. nimbosa. We also threw back maybe a dozen living members of each of these species.
Outside of the shelling as always it was great to see the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and bumping into Jose was wonderful. Sounds like the museum will have a fantastic new display of world records that I, unfortunately, missed. Also a chance to meet Larry Strange at his shop and talk shells was a fantastic plus. Honeymoon island has a nice display of local shells including a 24 inch Horse Conch.
And just to add, my 2:00 am stomp around Bowman’s Beach (Sanibel) scared up a Bobcat! Quite a plus. A very enjoyable trip!