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ZOOM meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 14th.

Wednesday October 14, 2020 7 P.M.

Broward Shell Club ZOOM meeting. Carole Marshall will be giving a program,  Cephalopods on Coins, Paper Money and Exonumia. I will have live footage of Octopuses in motion. Great video by Brenda Hill, who has graciously loaned her video to me. Many stories of why these cephalopods came to be on coins and exonumia, including the Forest Octopus of the Cascades and the Kraken of the Game of Thrones.  Learn about the Octopus who predicted soccer games and some million year old ammonites.  Tune in on Wednesday at 7 P.M. Zoom Meeting: 85812?pwd=Y1A3bVVoallOQzU4N UwxaUpnNFNldz09 Meeting ID: 828 1928 5812 Passcode: 844342 Mobile Phone call (if you need to connect by phone only): +13017158592,,82819285812#,,,,,,0#,,844342# US (Germantown) +13126266799,,82819285812#,,,,,,0#,,844342# US (Chicago) Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

ZOOM Programs for September

ZOOM Programs for September

September has always been an iffy month for a Shell Club meeting. Usually it is hurricanes, this year it is COVID.  I try to schedule our ever popular show and tell for September and we will try to do that in our ZOOM meeting for this September.  So dust off an old shelling story or two and prepare to share it with the group.

IF, for some reason, we do not have enough show and tell stories, I have prepared a short program on Coins and Cephalopods. Most of you know I collect shells on coins, paper money and exonumia.  Since 1999, they have become very important to me. I have money with mollusk motifs from about 145 different countries. For this program, I will only focus on the money with an Octopus, Squid, Nautilus or Cuttlefish.

I hope you get to tune in and we get to see your smiling faces again. Perhaps we can have another real meeting soon.

Carole Marshall

A most successful auction

Good morning everyone,

The auction for 2020 took in $3812.68.  This included the shell cases sold to Bob and John Chesler for a total of $320.  Highest results since we have been keeping records.  Thank you to Linda Zylman for all her work putting the auction together! Also, to all who attended and made this year’s auction a great success!

Take care everyone and stay safe!

Alice Pace


             Around the world with cone shells. We welcome our new members with a selection of seven different cone shells from seven different countries.  The cones are venomous and are predators. Most live among the coral reefs in tropical waters. While many species have a natural gloss, others are flat with barely a shine. Cones are a collector’s favorite.
   The collection includes from top left to bottom right the following:
   Conus omaria Hwass in Bruguière, 1792. This popular tent cone is from north west Australia, the southern extent of its range. One could make a huge collection of tent cones as there are so many species. Conus omaria is most typical.
   Conus ebraeus Linn, 1758 is named the Hebrew Cone because the regularly spaced black markings on white resemble Hebrew writing.  This specimen, which is very large for the species, is from Hawaii.
   Conus pupurascens Sowerby, 1833 is the Purple Cone. Unfortunately the purple mottling eventually fades. This one is from an offshore island in Panama.
   Conus janus Hwass in Bruguière, 1792 is an Indian Ocean cone from the island Madagascar. It comes in to two distinct varieties., one with dark brown flamules and other with gold.
   Conus terebra Born, 1758. This plain whitish cone has horizontal striations that completly encircle the shell and that along with its usual shape makes it quite distinctive. This is a Philippine specimen.
   Conus achatinus Gmelin 1791 is called the Agate Cone. It has a striking pattern of clouds and spiral dashes and is quite colorful.  This one comes from the hard to get nation of Myanmar and is the scarcest one in this collection.  
   The final cone is a local representative of the family, Conus regius Gmelin, 1791, and was collected off Key West. The Crown cone has a range that goes down the Caribbean Islands all the way to Brazil.
   All the specimens are in excellent condition; growth lines are natural in cone shells as they grow is spurts and the line marks the end of each growing period.  All shells have a data slip with collection details.  The seven specimens were donated by Richard Kent and should have a combined retail value of $60 or more in today’s market.

February Meeting

Title: Ecological interactions between marine macrophytes and small invertebrate epifauna in tropical shallow coastal systems

Synopsis: Marine macrophytes form biogenic habitats that maintain the biodiversity of marine coastal systems, especially for small invertebrate epifauna that maintain essential ecosystem functions. These macrophyte-invertebrate interactions are prevalent in shallow coastal systems, including subtidal seagrass beds and intertidal sandy beaches. These shallow coastal systems are also challenged with periodic influxes of pelagic Sargassum, a region-wide issue affecting much of the Caribbean, including South Florida, since 2011. Though these Sargassum influxes occur periodically, we know very little about how these influxes affect the local macrophyte and invertebrate epifaunal communities. This upcoming meeting will provide an update on research related to macrophyte-invertebrate interactions in shallow coastal systems. Current findings of ongoing research and further opportunities of investigation, particularly with effects of Sargassum influxes, will be discussed. 

Biography: Lowell Andrew Iporac is a Ph.D Candidate at Florida International University’s (FIU) Biology Doctoral Program. Lowell obtained his B.A. in Biology from California State University, San Bernardino, where he completed four different undergraduate projects. Among those four research projects, it was an internship at Shannon Point Marine Center that sparked his interest in marine biology. Upon moving to FIU, he joined the Marine Macroalgae Research Lab (MMRL) with Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides in 2016. When not doing his research, Lowell likes snorkeling, diving, hiking, and playing with his Nintendo Switch. 

Recap of Aplys1a Lab Field Trip

Phillip Gillette, our speaker for August 2019, offered our members a tour of the Aplysia Marine Lab at Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science on Virginia Key, Miami. So, on November 10, about 14 members of our club went to the National resource for Aplysia Lab. This lab is the only one in the country to raise Aplysia californica from egg to adult. They keep stringent records and know lines of ancestors. Since the Aplysia hatches to a veliger, raising them is extremely labor intensive. The water needs to be kept clean, the animals need to be fed daily and the veligers need constant turning so as not to settle prematurely. 

Aplysia californica is an extremely important animal for neuro research. The ganglia are the largest in the animal kingdom and scientists can work with them easier than other animals. 

Phillip gave us a great tour and we are very grateful he gave us this opportunity. 

Before we even got to the time to meet, our members were fossil hunting in the parking lot.





The Harp shells are among the nicest sculpted with the most intricate pattern of all gastropods.  Today there are a dozen recognized species, all of which are very similar.  All but one species are very affordable, making the Harps a favorite to collect. Placing the different specie on a table together is an excellent lesson in differentiation as they are very similar with only minor differences.
   Harpa amouretta is the easiest to identify. It is the smallest harp, generally about 2”, and the only one that is elongate whereas all the others are globular. One element of its pattern, the two by two pairing of fine blackish lines that cross elevated ribs, is unique.
   The common name is Lesser Harp. In times past it was know as Harpa minor, a name that is more fitting. It is extremely widespread in distribution across the entire Indo-Pacific region.  Harpa Amouretta lives either in sand or under rocks and in proximity to reefs. There is a little variation in color and the pattern is consistent.  Harpa amouretta does vary in weight, degree of elongation and thickness of lip.  Also there are populations where the ribs are glossy but the space between is dull.  Several subspecies have been named and generally rejected.
  These three Philippine specimens are 1.5”, 2.25” and 2.5”. All are in gem condition and were donated from the collection of Richard Kent

January Meeting

Our Program for this January is our own Tom Ball. Tom will be giving us a program on Musical Shells. Tom is a musician himself, playing piano, singing opera and appearing in at least two Florida Grand Opera productions a year. He has been in Barbershop Quartets, sings in Church Choirs and in many other choral groups. Tom also composes scores and writes music. 

It is no surprise then that Tom collects shells with musical connotations. Shells named for an instrument, a composer, a musician, a musical opera, score or anything musical. You will be surprised at all the shells he has encountered.

Tom gave us a similar program about 5 years ago but since we have so many new members, I thought it would be enjoyable for our new members and since he has much new material he has added, even those who have seen it once will enjoy seeing it again. 

November 2019 program

Dr. Tim Collins is a Professor and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University. Dr. Collins received his B.S. degree from the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Dr. Collins is an evolutionary biologist working primarily on molluscs, and is particularly interested in applying his skills to solve practical problems.

I met Dr. Collins at the screening of the Changing Seas episode “Cryptic Critters” from Season 10,  with Dr. Rüdiger Bieler and his wife Dr. Petra Sierwald. Tim ran the DNA work on the new wormsnail from the Florida Keys, which turned out to be the new species, Thylacodes vandyensis Bieler, Rawlings & Collins, 2017.

Dr. Collins is presently working on the invasive species of flatworm, Platydemus manokwari De Beauchamp, 1963, and tonight he will tell us about his studies with this flatworm and why it is dangerous to our local species.

The non-native terrestrial New Guinea Flatworm (NGF, Platydemus manokwari) was discovered in Florida in 2015. In other parts of the world where it has been introduced, it has been considered the cause of extinction and/or dramatic decline of native species, particularly land snails, and for this reason is considered one of the World’s 100 worst invasive species. We have observed large-scale predation events on native Florida tree snails by Platydemus sp. for example, on our iconic native tree snails, Liguus and Orthalicus in the Castellow Hammock Preserve (see photos). In my talk I will discuss the possible effects of NGF on both native and non-native snails in Florida, as well as possible ways to limit the spread and effects of this new invasive species.

Please come and welcome Dr. Tim Collins to his first program for our club. Don’t forget to bring a snack if you have not done so this year.


Conus victoriae Reeve, 1843.
exposed on mud flats at extreme low tide
Broome, West Australia 
   One could easily make an entire collection of textile (tent) cones as there are so many species and so much variety while all share that one common denomination – tents.
   Conus victorae, named in honor of Queen Victoria, is indigenous to the north and western coasts of Australia.  Unlike most cones, it seems any shallow water environment will do and might be found living in mud flats, underneath rocks or in sand at the base of corals.  It is predatory, venomous and one can assume where there is food, it will be found.
   While many tent cones share a similar pattern of tents and fine lines, Conus victorae is distinguishable as its pattern is more complex than most other tent cones. It has a white base overlaid with either orange gold or blueish brown bands, dark blotches, uneven spacing and grouping of small irregular sized tents, fine vertical lines, and often an interrupted pattern. It also tends to have a rougher finish than most textile cones, often with growth lines, healed breaks, and eroded patches. As the shell is common in its locations, there is no reason to collect inferior specimens.
   Conus victoriae is very variable both in coloration and shape,  Elongated spires are often found.  It seems that the colors vary by population rather than within the population. These three specimens came from a lot of two dozen, not one of which had any blue.  I’ve seen other groups where most were blueish and some exceptionally dark.  Albinos also exist.
   These three specimens, are varied in pattern, of near gem quality, but are on the smaller sde,  It seems recently they just don’t grow so big and large specimens will bring twice the price of average ones.
   As with most Australian shells, Conus Victortiae is not easy to obtain due to the exceptionally high price of Australian postage. The shells were acquired from a diver/dealer and are from the collection of Richard Kent. Hopefully the winner will seek out other specimens of different pattern to make an exciting collection of Victoria’s Cone.