Hi Everyone,

Well the month of May zoomed by rather quickly. Mostly because of my action-filled trip back to the U.S.  It’s good to be back home in the tropical warmth, even though it’s raining – well, actually pouring! – this Sunday morning. I had forgotten just how changeable the weather back in the Pacific Northwest could be in May. The warmth of the weather the first few days was replaced by clouds and showers – but the warmth continued, generated by good friends and family. As in trips past I couldn’t have been happier with the hospitality of my brothers (Ray and Steve) and their wives (Gayle and Diane) as well as the Almasi’s (Terry and Shary); I get spoiled by their “taking care” of this old traveler.

As I mentioned in my prior emails, I flew a more direct route this trip. Korean Air flies to Inchon (Seoul) from Phuket and then on directly to Seattle. The “dreaded” 9+ hour layover in Inchon was actually a pleasant break in the 18+ hours of flying. I booked a room at the airport hotel for six hours and got a good nap in a nice, quiet room, just steps from the terminal’s concourse. Spent a little time walking around the airport and encountered a parade of Koreans dressed in costumes of previous centuries – a performance of an ancient Korean wedding ceremony – following the parade I found the Korean Cultural Museum (right in the airport) and watched as the marriage ceremony took place. I had planned to sample some typical Korean food – but I had Korean food at home the last two days and so opted for a Korean-style “Whopper” at Burger King. Of course, on the flight from Korea to the U.S. the meal selection included choices of several Korean dishes – I choice to try Bibimbap, several types of vegetables and meat in bottom of a bowl, add portion of hot rice, Korean pepper sauce and soy sauce, mix together and eat; accompanied by a bowl of seaweed soup and pickle chips done in an unfamiliar style. Tasty, but I still prefer Thai bowl meals. To me a big advantage of flying Korean Air, besides the departure from Phuket and the fare which is several hundred dollars less than any other airline, is that the rows of seats in economy are further apart than I have ever seen in another airline (well at least since the 1970’s!), with ample knee room, even when the person in the seat in front of you insists on reclining their seat for the entire journey.

The lady at the Korean check-in counter at Phuket International Airport had added a Priority tag to my luggage (another advantage of Korean Air is that they allow two free checked bags, each can weigh up to 50 pounds!). So arriving at Sea-Tac (Seattle/Tacoma International Airport) my bags were amongst the first appearing on the baggage carousel. Quick trip through U.S. Customs and on the underground train to the main terminal, where, fortunately, the luggage from International flights arrives at the carousel right next to the doors to catch airporter transports. With my two large bags, a heavy carryon and laptop bag, I managed to lug my “load” the dozen meters and book my ride on the Kitsap Airporter. Fortunately, before leaving Phuket, I had purchased two jackets at a nearby second-hand store – a windbreaker and a heavier one. The change from Phuket’s 80+F heat to Seattler’s 50+ this year was then compensated for and I felt snugly warm on the ride to Bremerton, where Ray and Gayle picked me up.

I spent a couple of days at each brother’s home before heading across Puget Sound to appraise a large shell collection in Bellevue which was to be donated to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. It is an amazing collection and the Burke is fortunate to be the recipient. The Field Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the British Museum and the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris all wanted the collection, but with the donor being local and the persuasion of Dr. Alan Kohn, the Burke won out – as the donor said, he can easily visit the collection in nearby Seattle. The work of the appraisal went well, as the collector had reams of lists covering the 25,000+ species, subspecies and forms in the collection. And access to all was simple with separate cabinets holding all of the family of related shells. I am certain the I.R.S. will accept my “fair market value” appraisal.

After two days of work, I decided that that second evening I would just dine at the hotel’s restaurant. I neglected to realize something – “American Long Term Hotel” chain rooms each have cooking facilities – so when I inquired about the hotel’s restaurant I learned there was none. The nearest restaurant was a Denny’s about two blocks away or I could continue another two blocks, use the overpass  above the freeway and then an additional two blocks would take me to famous-for-great-restaurants Bellevue Square. A glance at the rain steadily falling outside the hotel entrance and put the kibosh on that long trek. Instead I decided to recall several Teen-age Vending Machine meals and partook of a cinnamon role, chocolate-chip cookies, some Ritz crackers and a Diet Coke. Please don’t tell my Doctor!

Sunday the 19th was the May meeting of the Pacific Northwest Shell Club, so after completing the appraisal I stayed several nights with the Almasi’s, remembering past shelling trips with them and with our mutual, departed good friend, Trevor Roberts. The club meeting was enjoyable and well attended, with an illustrated talk on the Sea Mammals of Puget Sound to expand our knowledge beyond the mollusks we all sought.

Back across the Sound to brother Steve, who has the family home, just a mile from Port Gamble. A few days were spent visiting older family relatives as well as walking in to Port Gamble and doing a bit of work on a few of the displays that needed a new label or a bit of cleaning. I  must say that Shanna Smith, manager, and the crew that maintains Port Gamble for Olympic Resource Management, as well as Kim and Eric who now have the General Store, have done a great job with my museum and I hope they know how appreciative I am for their efforts.

We were to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of my Of Sea and Shore Museum of Shells and Natural History on Sunday the 26th. Unfortunately, the person charged with doing PR for the event “dropped the ball” and there were no announcements of the event in any newspaper. The town’s website and the General Store website did put a mention on their sites. I was filled with apprehension that no one   would come to “the big day”. Fortunately George Holm, editor of “The Dredgings” the newsletter of the Pacific Northwest Shell Club ran an article of the event (as did Tom Eichhorst, editor of “American Conchologist”, the Conchologists of America magazine that goes to thousands of collectors). Mention was also made at the Club meeting and Club President Ray Bily placed a robot-call to all club members the week before that Sunday. The “live wire” in my North Kitsap Class of 1957 – Bonnie Myrvik Greenfield sent several emails to class members and made phone calls to others about the anniversary.

So as Sunday arrived I wondered if we’d have more “docents” [shell club members who volunteered to answer visitor questions and guide visitors] than visitors. Not to worry. It was probably a good thing that no publicity was done as during the six hours of the event (with great coffee and a gorgeous cake provided by the General Store) we were constantly full of members of my extended family, shell club members and classmates of my highschool class. We also had several local people who had first visited the museum as children and were now bringing grandchildren to see the displays. Plus a number of people who had stopped by to tour our Victorian-age village and have a delicious meal at the Café in the General Store – which by the way, will be expanding into the space formerly occupied by the Pope and Talbot Company offices. At the end we all wondered what we’d have done had a few hundred more shown up due to a publicity blitz.

Immediately following the closing of the General Store, my good friend Brian Gregory and I drove out to the northwest part of Washington State – Cape Flattery and the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay. This area is full of shelling and other memories for me and it was great to be back there after a lapse in visits of more than 15 years. Starting in 1956 I had visited this area several times a year and always came back with “molluscan treasures”. At this time the Tribe has banned any taking of live specimens (plants or animal) on the Reservation. Beachcombing is still allowed – so the next morning found Brian and I trying to remember the road from Neah Bay (located on The Strait of Juan de Fuca) to Mukkaw (Makah) Bay which is on the Pacific Ocean side of Cape Flattery. Not much had changed in the intervening years and we were soon parked and heading for the beach – needless to say warmly bundled and in rain suits and boots, as the wind was blowing quite hard and the gray skies were sending down a continuous fall of rain. Of course we were the only “fools” {aka “hearty souls”} on the beach and we did find a few nice shells as we walked the mile long sand beach. Memories flooded my mind as the rain fell and the wind blew – back to my initial visit when Bernie Hamlin and I, looking for specimens for our Biology Class project, drove to Makah Bay back in March 1956 in my 1942 Chrysler Salesman’s Coupe (it had an extremely large trunk and we used that rather than a tent for sleeping. We arrived at the Bay after dark – and it was snowing lightly – and went to the end of the road, stopped and spent the night under a grove of cedars. I was to learn, several years later, that we had actually spent the night in the Makah tribe’s traditional cemetery – something that was completely forbidden! Fortunately no tribal member (or ghosts) saw us there that night and dawn saw us out on the rocky reef looking for specimens. This is just one of dozens of memories associated with Neah Bay and Makah Bay – perhaps they’ll all be included if I ever get the “drive” to finish memoirs that have been barely started.

Besides the dead shells from the drift, I brought back some of the famous Makah Smoked King Salmon (just had a bit before I started this email – as a Thai would say “allow mak” [very delicious] and I have a portion to give to my “Thai Family,” the Patamakanthins later today).

After driving back to Steve’s I started to pack for the trip home. My two checked bags, on the trip from Thailand to Seattle weighed in at a total of 50 pounds (as stated before the allowable weight PER BAG), so I was a bit “wild” in buying things unavailable in Thailand (fewer and fewer as the years go by) and when I had stuffed everything into the bags each weighed 48.5 pounds. A sigh of relief.

With only a two hour layover in Inchon on the return trip, it was a “quick” trip back to my home on the shore of the Strait of Malacca, Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean. Now to catch up on mail and plan to help my Thai nephew with his next project – a shell museum in a university in northern Thailand. Tom

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Movin’ Movin’ Movin’

 

Well, July has been a rather interesting (to say the least) month. I learned near the start of the month that my house, the mini-mart and two other homes have been sold and will be torn down to make room for a new resort! That was the bad news. The somewhat good news was that the place could still be mine for nearly two more years as the lease on the mini-mart has that long to run and the new owners won’t take possession until that lease expires. What to do?

 

Well, as the years are seemingly passing by at an ever-increasing rate, I decided that now was the time to start looking for another abode. So onto the Internet. My desire was to stay in the Rawai Beach area if at all possible. Not just because I know the place well (after all I’ve had the house for nearly 14 years), but costs to move to another area would decrease my available budget significantly (i.e. if I had to change my land-line phone number it would cost nearly $300! But staying in this same area would reduce that to only $30 as I could keep my current number). So I limited my search to within the Rawai/Chalong area (an area about  4 x 3 miles). I found 30+ listings on the net for the area posted by real estate companies / agents and private parties. These were within my price range and had the required number of bedrooms, good size yard, etc. In addition to the web search I let word out to Thai friends to let me know if they came across a rental property that fit my needs (buying property here is not an option as a foreigner can not own land, other than a condo unit).

 

I have mentioned the young Thai man who watches my house while I’m gone and who has become my right-hand-man, Chai. His plans and mine seemed to coincide so I asked him to take advantage of the extra bedroom my searching-for home would have. He knows nearly everyone in the area and when I found a place on the net that looked promising he knew just where it was and had friends he could call to ask about the place, neighborhood, nearness to transportation, restaurants, shopping, etc. So mid-month we started looking at places that met my list of “must haves”. The second place we found – mentioned to Chai by a friend and not listed anywhere – was ideal, close to everything and with more room that where I am now. We talked to the caretaker who said yes, it was for rent (amazingly at the same rate I now pay) and that we could put a deposit down and start moving in right away. (I had decided that the longer I delayed my inevitable move, the more likely the lease prices would move higher and as I’m not getting any younger, I felt that with the amount of “stuff” I have to move, the sooner the better – while I’m still physically able to do the move easily.) We headed to my bank and withdrew the deposit money and Chai took it back to the caretaker – only to find that the caretaker had called the owner (in Bangkok) and found that the owner had decided not to rent the place after all! Bummer!

Chai is not one to give up so easily. On the way to give me the bad news he passed by a friend’s home. The friend asked if we were still looking for a new place. If so, she knew of one near her. So off we went again. This new place (new to us, it’s actually a 30-year old house built in a more Thai style than newer places) was quite a bit larger than my current place with a very large welcome room (what we westerners call the living room), three bedrooms (one for me, one for Chai and one to be the “shell room”), two bathrooms (my bedroom has one ensuite), two airconditioners (we’ll add a third that I bought for the current house) and with the kitchen in a separate small building in the back – this keeps cooking odors and heat out of the main house. There’s also room in that area for a barbque and a laundry area. The front yard is large (and we are in the process of moving my “:jungle” there as I write this). There is a large covered patio outside the front door with plenty of room for my parrots (we are planning a screened area so they can be safely kept outside at all times [now I bring several of the cages indoors each night as the residents of those cages are too valuable to leave outside]).

 

Oh yes, another great advantage of this new place is that it directly across the street from my “Thai Family”, the Patamakanthins! They were the family Charles Cardin and I journeyed to Phuket to meet 22+ years ago and are even more involved in shells than I am myself. And they’ve always been there for me when I needed help with something, just like my biological family back  in the U.S.A. So being next door (sort of) neighbors will be great!

So now we’re in the midst of moving my 730+ drawers of shells and the dozen+ shelving units that hold them. Pluss 50+ boxes of other shells and memorabilia. Then comes the large things like beds, fridges, tables, sofa, several large TVs and four computers.

 

Other than the things mentioned above the rest of the month has been quiet. Weather typical for this time of year with a day of wind, rain, sometimes thunder and lightning. Then periods of sunshine. Until last night we had had no rain for a week.

 

To those who enjoy birds I have a quick story to pass along. I have three pairs of lovebirds – one pair where born on my front porch. They, as well as the Cockateils and Budgies all enjoy the herb basil and I give sprigs of that to them each morning and late afternoon. The Conures and Lorikeet don’t care for it. A bird shop owner recommended this a she said it help keep the birds healthy and strong. Anyway, we have observed something strange with the pair that were hatched here. This is a behavior that we’ve never seen with their parents. The male of the pair, when the basil it put into the cage, pulls off the leaves and bites the stems into lengths of approximately two to three inches. These stems he then tucks into the feathers at his back end, between the tail and the wings. When it has tucked away three or four he then flies up to his nest (a small wooden “house” and adds hem to those from previous days that make up the nest were he and his love have laid some eggs. So0 rather than take one piece at a time up to the house using his beak, he has figured out how to do the job more efficiently. He’s looking at me now as I type this – wondering if I’m going to give him some more material to work on and move. Guess he’s movin’ movin’ movin’ too!

Well, hope you all have a great summer. Will bring you more news of our move in a few weeks.

Hopefully most of you got the email I sent a few days ago, but had
some say not all the photos “came through” and with others I got a
notice from servers that the email was “too large”. So will resend the
photos to everyone as attachments to this email.

Am still working on getting the interior as I want it to be, will send
another set of photos when that’s done – hopefully within a week or
so.

Tom

#1. the “old” house before I moved out
#2 the new place before I moved in
#3 the “old” house after I moved out, taking most of the plants,
bushes & trees with me
#4 the new place with the transplanted vegetation
#5 a viw of the new place from “above”

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The official “High Season” started Nov. 1 here on Phuket. This is when
the weather turns to the better – drier, warmer – and the hotels
double their room rates (then we have “Peak Season” – Christmas to
after New Year” when the prices rise even more). The end of October
was quite wet, but, according to the “program” November started out
warmer and dry. At least until this evening (Nov. 3) when a
thunder/lighting, wind and heavy rain storm blew in from the east
(these storms usually come from the west – and the easterly winds
bring the better weather – somebody didn’t “read the program”).

Well, to bring you up-to-date re the move into the new place. Doesn’t
seem possible we’ve been here 2.5 months! Most of the exterior
projects have been completed. A section of the front covered patio has
been “fenced” in and the birds now have a permanent place – no more
moving them inside to the distant “shell room”. Only disadvantage is
that now when it starts to get light in the morning they start a
runkus, expecting to be fed – before the “shell room” kept them
thinking it was still night until about 0700, now they demand to be
fed just after 0600. But my back appreciates not having to lug six
large cages (with birds) in an out every morning and evening – and
whenever I need to go somewhere during the day. Now they have an
enclosure that can be locked.

I will attach some more photos with this missive showing you what some
of the interior looks like – at least the “Welcome Room” (aka Living
room or Great room) which contains an area for relaxation and
visiting, the 700+ shell drawers (I am up to 9,800 items on the shell
list) and my office/work area (three computers, flatbed scanner, 35mm
slide scanner, laser printer, stereo microscope, digital microscope,
etc) and the shell literature library. It still amazes me that I was
able to bring nearly all this with me from the U.S. Of course it took
four years – bringing up to six suitcases with me on return from
visiting the U.S. (fortunately this was before the restrictions on
number of checked bags allowed and the exhorbitant charges for “extra”
bags). Much of the bulk of the shells and library were shipped via
U.S. Postal Service M-Bag – I think I shipped nearly 80 M-bags, each
of which was allowed to weigh more than 60 pounds. Again timing was
important since just before the final few bags were sent the postal
people decided not to use surface shipping for the M-Bags and only
send them via Air, with the charges per bag more than doubling. I was
fortunate to have only a dozen M-bags to ship at this new rate. Now, I
understand, the M-bag can only be used for sending printed matter.

Its fun to consider that the original move – U.S. to Thailand –  took
four years. About 10,000 miles. The M-bags took 2-3 months for their
sea journey (usually via Singapore) – except for the last dozen that,
if I sent them the day before i left the U.S. to return home to
Thailand, usually arrived two or three days after I got back. And then
the move more recent took four days to move 1.5 kilometers.  Hopefully
this one is a permanent move – though I guess the original one wasn’t
short-lived, I did stay in the beachfront home fore more than a dozen
years.

I have often mentioned that one needs to travel around the immediate
area here at least once a month, as things continue to change rapidly.
This morning I noted that there were five new restaurants open or
about-to-open in the short (1.5 km) distance between the old and new
homes. Of course this has a lot to do with the start of high season.
It will be interesting to see how many are still in operation a year
from now. The new ones include a Japanese Buffet, two Italian
restaurants, a breakfast/desert place and one that doesn’t indicate
yet it’s final “dress”.

I enjoyed a visit from Drew Skinner last month. Drew stayed three
weeks and each day we ate one meal (either lunch or dinner) at a
restaurant within short walking distance (up to 1.5 kms) from the new
place. And speaking of food – I hope you’re sitting down when you read
this – I have decided to teach myself to cook(!?). With the kitchen
seperate from the new house – I can produce disasters that won’t
necessitate evacuation of the home. I have a myriad of appliances to
use – from gas burners to microwave – just bought a
mocrowave/convection oven/grill combo (Electrolux) to join the
crockpot and the electric hotplate combo. Hopefully I won’t burn the
kitchen down while attempting to cook! The “fire” in Thai food is in
the spices, not in the surrounding room.

Will show more photos next time of the kitchen. etc.

Tom

P.S. my website (www.ofseaandshore.com) is “down”. Hopefully we’ll
have it up again, but not for some time. You can also get me on
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thomasrice.906

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First of all HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR. The year of the Horse. May we all ride to glory in whatever we pursue in 2014.

 

Finally, having visited Thailand, and Phuket since the early 1990’s and living here for more than ten years, this past week I FINALLY SAW A LIVE KING COBRA! As I have mentioned in the past I have seen several other snakes: including a large Burmese Pyhon while out-and-about, but until this past week the only cobras I had seen (other than in the zoo or at the “cobra show”) were small dead juveniles smashed on the roadway.  Now my new abode is on a busy street – the one leading to the local Buddhist temple – and we have many cars, motorbikes and tour buses traveling by (the wat – or temple – is between 300 and 400 years old, so is a tourist attraction, especially for Chinese tourists). All the tour buses passing the house are Chinese groups – they like temples and spend big money on the Buddha charms (most are cheap imitations) and other souvenirs while listening to a false narrative from their Chinese tour guides. While walking out to the main road – to buy something at 7/11 with my visiting “grandson” from the Philippines, Edward said “Hey, there’s a snake!” Sure enough in the verdant growth between the street side and the wall enclosing a local building there was a King Cobra peering at us. We estimated his length at close to five feet, though only a portion astern of the head was visible. Needless to say we kept our distance. We watched him for a few minutes – and he watched us for a similar period. A Thai man, passing by, stopped to see what we were staring at and stated “if you want to see a lot of those snakes come to my garden” – an invitation I think we pass upon.

 

The next day, as we again passed the area of the “sighting” we noted a group of Myanmar workers clearing the brush. I mention to the man who seemed in charge that we’d see a cobra in that area the day before. The statement didn’t seem to faze him. But I wondered an hour later as I heard an ambulance siren if there had been an “encounter of the close kind” between a worker and a snake. But the ambulance went on by our street for a destination further along the beach.

 

I have been enjoying my two “grandson’s” visit for the past few weeks. We’ve accomplished several important improvement projects around the house and the boys have spent several afternoons at Nai Harn Beach (a ten minute ride away) which is the area’s best swimming beach (the beach at Rawai Beach is noted for its scenic beauty, but not for swimming as the sea here is quite shallow with a coral reef ½ km offshore – great for young children learning to swim as there is virtually no current. Sundays are the day people from Phuket town descend on Rawai Beach for a picnic and to let the young kids frolic in the water.

 

I mentioned above that we had been on our way to 7/11 when we spotted the snake. When I first visited Phuket there were no such outlets anywhere on the island. And even after moving here there were only a few scattered about. Now in just the 2 to 3 kilometers which we call Rawai Beach there are three 7/11s, four Family Marts, a Lotus Express and a Super Cheap* mini store – all open 24/7. Progress? In some ways, in others a sign that this end of the island is rapidly growing – another obvious sign is that we now have two new hotels and several condominium projects. Next door to my former home, where once there was a coconut plantation, there is a new 200 unit condominium complex (in eight buildings), with another area cleared for construction on another 100+ or more units. I had not walked along the beach road for ten days, but when I did go back I was astonished to see (where the condo project had been behind a construction barrier) that there were now five new restaurants occupying the street-front units of the project. This is in addition to the five other new restaurants I mentioned in my last email. Will have to try them out some day, but it’s difficult to try a new place when an old favorite is nearby and you know their menu and food quality and the new place is certain to be higher priced.

 

Speaking of food. The grandsons like to cook and so I’ve been treated to several versions of adobo and other Philippine staples. Another new addition to our area is the opening of a branch of Macro – a membership outlet similar to Costco (though Macro membership is free and the selections are not as extensive). Our branch is smaller than the one in Phuket Town and features items aimed at restaurants and cafes. Thus one can buy many varieties of fresh or frozen meats (we’ve had crocodile from there twice and they also have deer, frog, ostrich, quail, frog, and all sorts of fish). So I can stock up on some often-used items and then shop at my usual western-style market for the things not carried by Macro, Tesco Lotus or the local shops.

 

Have been busy lately organizing my shell stock – necessitated by the problems with an old 1993 Microsoft Access program that contained all my stock information, but which cannot be copied nor converted to a newer version. In addition, with the encouragement and help from room mate Chai, we now have several Facebook pages, my space, twitter, blogs and etc accounts to show off the shells and keep in contact with collectors.

 

If that’s not enough, I’ve instigated the formation of The Conchological Society of Asia with its formative meeting to be held here on Phuket in April of 2015. With a growing interest in the science / hobby here is Asia, especially China and India, I am hoping we will have a decent attendance at this initial gathering.

I must say that I am not missing the nasty weather that is hitting the Americas and Europe. We’re into our “high and dry” season. A  rain storm of an hour might occur once every two weeks or so, otherwise every day is warm (hot), sunny and wonderful – fortunately,  though I am away from the shoreline, we still get a good breeze at the new place. We do have three air conditioning units, but mostly rely on fans to circulate the air and keep the home comfortable. We have had some interesting visitors recently (and hope to add you to the list sometime soon!), including shell collectors from Italy, Japan and Bangladesh.

 

Well, enough “bending your ear” for now. Stay well. Remain happy and contented. And remember if life throws you a curve ball and you curse the day, remember the alternative to being alive.

Happy 2557!

Doesn’t seem possible, but it’s time again for the Songkran Festival celebrating Thailand’s entry into a New Year. This one is the year 2557. And today is the day for the “world’s largest water fight”. That’s a recent development – one which is very loosely based on the Thai tradition of a blessing given on New Year’s Day. Traditionally it is done by friends or family, and consists of a sprinkling of water (sometimes scented) on a person’s wrists and or back of the neck and a touch of powder to the forehead. This tradition is still carried on – in fact, as I returned from my pre-dawn walk this morning I met a lady who I see every time I walk – she takes part in a morning yoga class that is held out at the end of the Rawai Landing Pier which is also the terminus of my walks. Anyway, I saw that she was carrying a small container of water and as she approached me we exchanged “Sawadee pee mai” [Happy New Year] and she proceeded to sprinkle scented water on my neck. Now the “norm” for celebrating Songkran has turned into a melee. Certain areas have been designated as celebratory zones and in these areas – one is along the waterfront road here in Rawai (where I used to live) – you are allowed to get wild in your celebration. And by wild I mean you can throw water on people passing by in cars, on motorbikes, walking, whatever. And they can, in return, splash you as well. But it’s not only a splash as some people have armed themselves with “super-shooter” squirt guns, those with a business or home along the street haul out the garden hose, and the local municipal government places very large water barrels (by large I mean round,  four feet across and four feet high) along the street so you can reload. After “celebrating” this way several times over the 14 years I’ve been here during this time of year, I now stay comfortably dry and at home. My last “encounter” with the festivities was four years ago – I suddenly realized I needed some kapow (basil) for my parrots and had to walk the length of the beachfront road to the vegetable dealers at the Sea Gypsy Village. I made it – still dry – as far as where the road turns away from the beach where I got a small amount of water tossed onto my by an obnoxious farrang (foreigner) and continued on to my goal. It was on the return walk that I encountered a number (nearly 10) Thai friends and their families – all of whom proceeded to do the traditional blessing (well, a few used a bit more water than was strictly necessary) and so, by the time I reached my house I had to take my clothes off on the front porch as I was dripping water from head to foot. So today, my current home is a block off the main street and I can hear the shouts, screams and laughter from a distance and will spend a quiet dry day.

Now, after writing the above I was reminded of a saying “He had a photographic memory which was never developed.” And feel it’s most likely I have told most of you about Songkran before.

We have continued to work on improvements to the new place. Lately we had a roof installed over the backyard area on the western side of the separate kitchen. We will have this area for shell cleaning, grilling food, etc. A place where you can clean with a water hose.

This year I am sorry, but I will not be back for the annual family picnic, the shell club’s auction, etc. I had intended to do this again, but instead will be “reliving a bit of the past”. In 1996 Drew Skinner and I explored and collected on a number of the islands of The Republic of the Philippines. And we have decided, before we get too much older, to revisit some of the places that hold such good memories. We will meet in Manila on the 12th of July (I arrive at 0530 in the morning and Drew at 11:00 PM). We’ll stay a couple of nights in Manila visiting with shelling friends and then head south to the Visaya area, headquartering either on Cebu Island or on nearby Mactan Island (in the city of Lapu Lapu – named after the native headman who decapitated Magellan back centuries ago). From there we can go by fast boat (Ocean Jet, Super Cat or Weesan Express) to other islands such as Bohol, the Camotes, Leyte, Camaguin, Siquijor, etc. on day trips or to spend a night or two before returning to Cebu.  When I returned to the U.S. last May I was very pleased with the airfare I got ($1,270 round trip). This year I was pleased and amazed that I can travel roundtrip Phuket to Manila (5+ hours) for $218. Guess that’s the result of having so many new airlines competing for the market. And within the Philippines the airfares are now more reasonable than traveling by Superferry or other watercraft on long distance runs (i.e. airfare for 3 from Manila to Cebu is about the same cost as one way on the Superferry for 2 [including a cabin] – and the flight is 1.5 hours versus 23 hours on the boat).  Now if the typhoons deign to hold off or blow lightly this year Drew and I will be appreciative. We’re going to be accompanied by one of my Filipino “grandsons” Edward, who can help us in negotiations, being fluent in Tagalog and several of the Visayan area dialects.

This year we have continued to enjoy visits from people from both inside and outside of Thailand. Besides a number from Bangkok, we’ve recently enjoyed visits from people from Australia, Italy, South Africa and Bangladesh. When are you going to come for a visit?

We’re still planning for a get-together next April or May of people interested in mollusks (shells). Originally we had planned to form, at that meeting, the Conchological Society of Asia. And we still plan to do the basic things, but will have to wait to formally start the Society as to do so here in Thailand is impossible with all the paperwork, guarantees, hoops to jump through. So we’ll set up everything and then formally form the Society a year later in another meeting in another country. In doing some research I found that a group had planned to form a shelling club or society here back in the 1980’s and had run into the same bureaucratic muddle we have. Suggestions?

Well, the “wet” or “rainy” or (as “officially” called) summer starts the end of April. Phuket has had the driest “High” season in more than 30 years. We had almost no rain (other than one sprinkle) between 1 January and 1 April. My Filipino “grandsons” came for a three-week visit on 15 January and we had had no rain then for several weeks. The next night we went out for dinner to a restaurant about two blocks from the house. The night seemed clear. But as we awaited the serving of dinner it suddenly started to pour and it kept up as we ate and continued after we had finished. And we had neglected to bring an umbrella. Well, one “brave” grandson ran two doors down the street to the 7/11 and bought three “rain coats” and brought them to the restaurant. And, of course as soon as we all were dressed in our bright blue or bright yellow hooded plastic covers, the rain stopped. And, as I said, we then waited until 1 April for another drenching. It’s now two weeks after that and we’ve had two more downpours which lasted up to 30 minutes and a day-and-a-half of cloud cover and occasional drizzle. April is usually the hottest month here and the rains have been welcomed not only for our gardens, but they also cool the air for a while.

Well, hope you all have a fantastic year 2557 (or 2014)!

 

Will bore you again too soon with another email.

With the end of 2015 fast approaching I felt it high time I test your concentration span with another of my “slightly” long emails. There hasn’t been much to report as far as activities here in Rawai Beach, but I did get away for a month-long trip to the Philippines which I’ll regale you with a bit later.

As a longtime shell collector I have amassed a rather large library of shell books. One of my favorite books on this subject is “The Compendium of Seashells” by R. Tucker Abbott and S. Peter Dance. First published in 1982 it has been republished several times and became probably the best selling shell book of the last fifty years. I had the pleasure of meeting both authors. In fact Tucker and his wife Cecilia visited my shell museum in Port Gamble several times and I spent a week camped-out in my motorhome in their backyard in Florida back in 1980. I also had the pleasure of meeting Peter Dance and am pleased to say that he will be paying us a visit here on Phuket this coming March. If you’re interested in coming to meet him, he’ll be here for a meet-and-greet at The Phuket Seashell Museum the weekend of March 5 – 6. Email me for more information – and you’re likely to see the formal announcement of the “affair” on my Facebook page as well as other sites devoted to shells and shell collecting.

Now on to the latest adventures in the Philippines. In the past I told you of Drew Skinner and I traveling to the Visaya region of the Republic of the Philippines last July/August. At the end of that trip we decided we’d try to get back to that area in 2015.

Drew flew into Phuket September 2nd to start his two-month sojourn to this part of the world – a week here, then nearly four weeks in the Philippines, and back to Phuket for the remainder of his trip. We departed Phuket on a direct flight to Manila. We left at midnight and were lucky to have a row of seats for each of us – as the only passengers in the row we were able to stretch out and get a bit of sleep. The flight, on Cebu Pacific, was smooth and we actually arrived in Manila thirty minutes early. But, we were soon to discover why the Manila Airport has been named either the worst airport in the world or in other years, the second worst. Our plane sat on the tarmac for 1.5 hours before there was an open gate so we could deplane. In making the flight reservations I had allowed a three + hour window between our flight landing in Manila and the flight to Cebu taking off. So the 90 minute delay didn’t affect our schedule.

We arrived in Cebu about 10:30 AM and were met by Philippe Poppe who took us to our hotel, the one I had used this past December, and then on to the offices of Conchology, Inc. We were to spend several days at these offices – Drew to exchange specimen shells with Guido Poppe for specimens to enhance his collection. I was to take the time to use Guido’s huge conchological library in my ongoing project “Shellers from the Past and the Present” – as I write this we have more than 32,500 people and nearly 8,000 photos on the Conchology, Inc.’s website. While here we were able to celebrate Guido’s birthday with his family and the staff – a special dinner at a waterfront restaurant, as well as a feast of two very delicious cakes at Conchology, Inc. My visits with the Poppes are always memorable, fun and enlighting and the time passes much too swiftly.

 

Drew and I had discussed where we wanted to spend the next three plus weeks. We definitely wanted to revisit the island Province of Siquijor, as well as the Santander/Oslob area at the southern end of Cebu Island. We had decided to only make a hotel reservation on Siquijor (where we stay, the resort only has three bungalows so it’s important to plan in advance). Otherwise we’d “play it by ear” (not sure where that saying originated). So we used the Internet to make our first reservation on Moalboal, Cebu. [even now, after three months, I’m still getting “we have found you accommodations in Moalboal, from several of the online reservation services I perused during my search while in Cebu]. We decided we wanted to be away from the areas with the most resorts and so made our reservation at the Moalboal Beach Resort (in reading reviews we were intrigued by descriptions of its nearby “swamp” and rocky beaches – we never want to stay in those resorts that brag about their sandy/white sand beaches – we want rocks and varied habitat to ensure we have a better chance to collect some interesting shells). So first a taxi ride from our hotel on Mactan Island, across the bridge to Cebu Island and a slow crawl (traffic here is really clogged) to the South Bus Terminal. A bus was to leave shortly (we made sure to get an air-conditioned vehicle) and we were soon on our way. The route first followed the western coast of Cebu, then it was up and up over some impressive mountains and then a swoop down to Moalboal. At the bus stop we engaged a tricycle (motorbike with canopy-covered side car) to take us to our resort. We had read that the final leg of the road to our destination was really rugged and that was no exaggeration.

We spent three great days at Moalboal Beach Resort and got such positive results with our collecting that we plan to return again and spend a longer time. The “swamp” proved just to be a mangrove area to one side of the resort and we collected a number of shell species that prefer that type of habitat. A short walk, at low tide, took us out to some small islets in the bay where we discovered areas of mud, other areas with corals and still others with sand and/or rocks. Each area yielded some nice shells for our collecting bags and too soon the incoming tide made us make our retreat to the resort.

At each place we stayed during this trip we had made certain that Wi-Fi was available. In some it was accessible in the room. At others it was accessible only in the “public” areas. This latter situation was true here. Since the resort is quite isolated we took all our meals at its restaurant as well as access the Internet there. This was not a problem as our room was only 50 feet away – the only time it was a problem was one evening when an hours-long downpour kept us in the restaurant for three hours (didn’t want to take the chance on getting the laptop or tablet wet). For the most part the food was quite good and we were able to persuade the staff to cook our shells for us so we could clean them at our leisure.

We did hire a tricycle for a trip to the Kwassin Falls. It was a fairly long drive and then a long (2 km) walk from the roadside parking area to the falls. But worth it all. The falls were very impressive, and even better we collected small land snails on the walk in and while at the falls found some large tree snails on some of the foliage nearby. Drew also got some spined nerites from the river.

After three days we again caught the air-con bus, but this time continued down the coast and around the tip to Santander (where we stayed last time) and on to Oslob. Here we stayed at a small family-run hotel (the Malonzo Pension House) and felt like “part of the family”. We visited another larger waterfall –Tumalag – but here the amount of water coming down the 100+ foot falls was less than it had been last year. But still impressive. We tried our luck collecting at several nearby beaches, but the tide situation didn’t give us much in the way of a low tide and we only collected a few specimens.

We had planned to next take the small ferry from Santander across to Dumaguete on Negros Island and find a place at the southern tip of that island. However, since we had had such a good time at Buco Beach Resort on Siquijor last year, we decided to skip Negros and add a few extra days to our stay on Siquijor. We didn’t regret this decision. I had been in contact with Mark and Elgie Reekie. Mark is from Bend, Oregon and married Elgie who is from Siquijor. When Mark retires (I think next year) they’ll make the move to their permanent home in San Juan on Siquijor. Not only will it be their home, but they are also building a large shell museum in San Juan. We spent several enjoyable days collecting with Elgie, land and freshwater species in the area of Lagason Falls, San Antonio and Lazi (the latter collecting in run-off from the rice paddies) as well as the tidal area near Buco Beach. Elgie was great – cheerful, fun to be with and very knowledgeable about shelling on Siquijor. Both Drew and I were impressed with the plans for the new shell museum and visited the site where construction appeared to be about 75% completed.

While on Siquijor I had a visit from my “grandson” Richard. He was on vacation from his job as a Registered Nurse in Saudi Arabia and flew down from Manila to join Drew and I for our last few days on Siquijor.

We left Siquijor and again crossed to Santander where the bus to Cebu awaited us at the ferry dock. We were to spend some more time with Guido, Philippe and Sheila, even taking a ride on their new boat down the channel between Mactan and Cebu Islands to a seaside restaurant for lunch.

 

Then it was back to Phuket, but I’ve jabbered enough for this email and will close with wish for you all to have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or just a pleasant Winter Solstice. And that 2016 will be your best year yet.

Regards to all.

Tom

Tom Rice

Rawai Beach, Phuket, The Kingdom of Thailand

IMG_0001 Fig. 1.Geographical location and sampling stations (E1, E2 and E3) of the study area.

Antonio Vega Torres, Frank A. Ocaña Borrego, Alejandro Fernández Velázquez, Carmen R. Zayas Herrera & Elier A. Córdova García.

Centro de Investigaciones y Servicios Ambientales y Tecnológicos de Holguín. Calle 18 s/n. Rpto. “El Llano”, Holguín, Cuba. CP 80100.

*corresponding author: vega@cisat.cu*

Abstract: From the rocky shore of Gibara, north eastern Cuba, 24 species of molluscs were recorded. Families Littorinidae and Neritidae had higher number of species. Fourteen new records of molluscs for the coast of Gibara are added. The most abundant species were the gastropods Echinolittorina ziczac (26,7 %), Tectarius antoni  (25 %) and Nodilittorina mespillum  (19,9 %).  Species richness varied among sampling stations. Higher species richness were found in the supralittoral zone. The intertidal zone reached a maximum abundance of 30 ind./m2 whereas the supralittoral zone reached maximum values of 57 ind./m2. Exposed rocky shore presented higher species richness and abundance than the sheltered ones, these differences could be related with physical factors such as wave action and substrate features. Cluster analysis showed a clear separation among sheltered and exposed zones and between intertidal and supralittoral zones. Species clustered in two groups segregated by the vertical distribution in the shore.

Introduction

Studies about marine molluscs from the coast of Holguín province have been carried out only at six localities (Torres, 1987, 1988; Espinosa, 1987; Espinosa & Rams, 1988; Vega et al., 2004; Ocaña et al., 2010), and most of them have focussed on making a checklist and to describe associated biotopes. The west shore in Holguín constitutes one of the most extensive and morphologically complex rocky shores in Cuba. It is located between the Gibara bay and Caletones beach. Part of this shore belongs to the Caletones Ecological Reserve, a protected area of national significance; nevertheless most of the knowledge about molluscs is solely restricted to zoological collections and unpublished reports.

For the moment a few studies has deal with seashells and there’s a gap of information about spatial structure and distribution of molluscs in the rocky shore. The aim of the present paper is to describe aspects about the abundance and distribution of intertidal and supralittoral molluscs from the rocky shore of Gibara.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

Study area: the study area is located in Gibara municipality (21o12´35” N, 76o14´42” W) (Fig. 1). The coast is abrasive composed by a calcareous hard substrate of 15 km in length alternating with short sectors of sands and rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampling sites: sampling was carried out at the beginning of the rainy season of 2009. We separated the coast in two different categories in exposed and sheltered depending on the effects of waves. Selection of sampling sites were based on a priori field trip trying to identify sites with contrasting morphology and covered by living organisms. Accessibility and safety were took it into account.

Three stations were selected (Fig. 1):

Station E1. Punta Vigía (21012´25.1´´N y 76013´36.8´´W). Sheltered coast located in the Caletones Ecological Reserve. The intertidal zone is wide and flat and the bottom is composed of hard substrate with patches of sediment were many seaweeds growths. In this site are abundant corals of  species Porites divaricada and the sea urchin Echinometra lucunter. The supralittoral zone presents pebbles and the fauna is not abundant. In this station two transects were established.

Station E2. Playa María Velázquez (210 10´13.2´´N y 760 09´06.6´´W). We selected a transect in a small sheltered part and two transects in an exposed part. The sheltered area has very low influence of waves and the flora and fauna richness is very low, the supralittoral zone is very abrupt and exists many debris and oil spots. In the exposed area the intertidal zone is narrow and some coralsof the genus Porites, Diploria, Dichocoenia and Siderastrea exists, the spcies richness of seaweeds is very low. Supralittoral zone is about 20m in length.

Station E3. Punta Goleta (210 10´13.2´´N y 760 09´06.6´´W). Very exposed, located near of Gibara town. Three transects were established. Intertidal zone is very narrow and is covered mostly by green seaweeds. Supralittoral zone is about 20m in length.

Sampling: we followed a stratified sampling design. A 0.25 m2(1.0 m x 0.25 m) quadrat were used, being placed ramdomly over the substrate along every transect from the intertidal to the upper part of the supralittoral zone, taking at least three replicates per zone. Most of the living animals were identify in situ to reduce stress and mortality. The animals that we can’t identify in the field were fixed in 10% formalin and preserved in 70% ethanol and carried out to the laboratory where   identification were possible using a microscope and the works of Abbott (1974) and Espinosa et al. (1994). Collected material were deposited in the malacological collection of the natural history museum “Carlos de la Torre y Huerta” in Holguín city.

Species richness was determined based on the number of species found (S). The taxonomic similarity among stations, zones and species was estimated by the Bray-Curtis index (Bray & Curtis, 1957) with a presence-absence transformation of the raw data and dendograms were constructed using the simple average method.

RESULTS

Specific composition

A total of 2038 individuals of 24 species were recorded. Species are included in three classes (Polyplacophora, Gastropoda and Bivalvia), seven orders, 13 families and 19 genera (Table 1). Families of gastropods with larger number of species were Littorinidae (6) and Neritidae (5). The best represented genus was Nerita Linné, 1758 with three species. In the Polyplacophora the genus Chiton Linné, 1758 was represented with two species while bivalve molluscs were represented by only one genus per family. Two families of gastropods and three of bivalve are represented with only one species (Table 3). In despite there’s not any new record for Cuba, 14 species in the checklist for coastal zone of Gibara are here added (Table 3).

Table 1. Taxonomic composition of the malacological fauna from the rocky shore of Gibara.

Class Order Family Genus Species
POLYPLACOPHORA NEOLORICATA

1

2

3

GASTROPODA VETIGASTROPODA

1

1

2

NERITOPSINA

1

3

5

SORBEOCONCHA

6

9

10

BIVALVIA ARCOIDA

1

1

1

MYTILOIDA

1

1

1

PTERIOIDA

2

2

2

TOTAL

13

19

24

The species Nerita tessellata (Gmelin, 1791), Fissurella barbadensis (Gmelin, 1791) and Chiton squamosus (Linné, 1764), were registered at the three sampling stations. The most abundant species among stations were the gastropods Echinolittorina ziczac (Gmelin, 1791) (26,7 %), Tectarius antoni (Philippi, 1846) (25 %) and Nodilittorina mespillum (Mühlfeld, 1824) (19,9 %) (Table 2).

Table 2. Dominant species of molluscs from the rocky shore of Gibara.

Class

Species

Frequency (%)

Number of individuals

POLYPLACOPHORA Chiton squamosus

0,39

8

GASTROPODA Echinolittorina ziczac

26,7

546

Tectarius antoni

25

511

Nodilittorina mespillum

19,9

406

Cenchritis muricatus

6,13

125

BIVALVIA Hormomya exustus

3,33

68

The station 2 had the higher species richness (S = 22), whereas the lower value were registered at station 1 (S = 9). In the supralittoral zone were registered the higher species richness (S = 16) (Table 2).

Table 3. Checklist and presence (0) – absence (1) matrix per sampling station of the molluscs found in the rocky shore of Gibara. ML: Intertidal, SL: Supralittoral. *New record for the zone.

SPECIES

Stations

E1

E2

E3

ML

SL

ML

SL

ML

SL

Phyllum  MOLLUSCA
Class POLYPLACOPHORA
Order NEOLORICATA
Family Chitonidae
Genus Chiton Linné, 1758
1.Chiton marmoratus Gmelin, 1791*

0

0

1

0

1

0

2. Chiton squamosus Linné, 1764*

1

0

1

0

1

0

Genus Acanthopleura Guilding, 1829
3. Acanthopleura granulata (Gmelin,1791)*

0

0

1

0

1

0

Class GASTROPODA
Order VETIGASTROPODA
Family Fissurellidae
Genus Fissurella Bruguière, 1788
4. Fissurella barbadensis (Gmelin, 1791)

1

0

1

0

1

0

5. Fissurella nodosa (Born, 1778)

0

0

1

0

1

0

Order NERITOPSINA
Family Neritidae
Genus Nerita Linné, 1758
6. Nerita peloronta Linné, 1758

0

1

0

1

0

1

7. Nerita tessellata Gmelin, 1791*

0

1

0

1

0

1

8. Nerita versicolor Gmelin, 1791

0

0

1

1

0

1

Genus Puperita Gray, 1857
9. Puperita pupa (Linné, 1758)

0

0

0

1

0

1

Genus Neritina Lamarck, 1816
10. Neritina meleagris Lamarck, 1822*

0

0

0

0

0

1

Orden SORBEOCONCHA
Family Planaxidae
Genus Supplanaxis Thiele, 1929
11. Supplanaxis nucleus (Bruguière, 1789)*

0

1

1

0

0

0

Family Littorinidae
Genus Echinolittorina Habe, 1856
12. Echinolittorina meleagris (Potiez y Michaud, 1838)*

0

0

1

0

0

1

13. Echinolittorina ziczac (Gmelin, 1791)

0

0

0

1

0

1

Genus Nodilittorina Martens, 1897
14. Nodilittorina mespillum (Mühlfeld, 1824)*

0

0

0

1

0

1

Genus Tectarius Valenciennes, 1832
15. Tectarius antoni (Philippi, 1846)

0

0

0

1

0

1

Genus Cenchritis Von Martens, 1900
16. Cenchritis muricatus (Linné, 1758)

0

0

0

1

0

1

Family Vermetidae
Genus Petaloconchus H. C. Lea, 1843
17. Petaloconchus erectus (Dall, 1889)*

0

1

0

1

0

1

Family Costellariidae
Genus Vexillum Röding, 1798
18. Vexillum gemmatum (Sowerby, 1871)*

0

0

1

0

0

0

Family Muricidae
Genus Plicopurpura Cossmann, 1903
19. Plicopurpura patula (Linné, 1758)

0

0

1

0

1

0

Family Columbellidae
Genus Nitidella Swainson, 1846
20. Nitidella nitida (Lamarck, 1822)*

0

0

1

0

0

0

Clase BIVALVIA
Orden ARCOIDA
Family Arcidae
Genus Arcopsis von Koenen, 1885
21. Arcopsis adamsi (Dall, 1886)*

1

0

1

0

0

0

Order MYTILOIDA
Family Mytilidae
Genus Hormomya Mörch, 1853
22. Hormomya exustus (Linné, 1758)

0

0

1

0

1

0

Order PTERIOIDA
Family Pteriidae
Genus Pinctata Röding, 1798
23. Pinctata imbricata Röding, 1798*

0

1

0

0

0

1

FamilyIsognomonidae
Genus Isognomon Lightfoot, 1786
24. Isognomon radiatus (Anton, 1839)*

0

1

0

0

0

0

Species richness (S)

3

6

13

9

7

12

Community structure and zonation

In the intertidal zone the most abundant species was the bivalve Hormomya exustus (Linné, 1758). In this zone, differences in abundance among stations were observed. At station 3 the abundance ranked for 30 ind./m2, while stations 1 and 2 had lower abundance (0,5 ind./m2 and 1,5 ind./m2, respectively) (Fig 2).

Fig. 2. Density variation of molluscs (mean ± SD) among stations y and zones.

At the supralittoral zone the epifaunals gastropods E. ziczac (Gmelin, 1791), T. antoni, N. mespillum and C. muricatus dominated in abundance. At station 1 the species N. tessellata and N. peloronta dominated in number, whereas N. mespillum, T. antoni, C. muricatus, N. versicolor, E. ziczac and N. tessellata were the most abundant at E2. At station 3 E. ziczac, T. antoni, N. mespillum and N. tessellata had the higher abundance. At E3 the abundance was 57 ind./ m2 and at E2 was 43 ind./m2, lower values were recorded at E1 (3,6 ind./m2)(Fig. 2).

Sheltered transects had the lower average abundance at the intertidal (1 ind./m2) and at the supralittoral (9 ind./m2) zones. Exposed transects had the higher values of average abundance with 16 ind./m2 in the intertidal zone and 67 ind./m2 in the supralittoral zone, contrary the lower values in sheltered zones are well evidenced (Fig. 3).

Fig.3. Density variation of molluscs (mean ± SD) among zones with different wave exposition level.

Analysis of similarities showed a clear association among stations and biotopes. The cluster analysis based on the stations and zones allowed to recognise two groups at a level of 30% of similarity. The first group comprised the supralittoral zone while the second clustered the intertidal zone. Inside of each group are clearly segregated two subgroups composed for the sheltered and the exposed transects (Fig. 4).

The cluster analysis based on the species determined two main groups at a level of 25% of similarity. The first group is composed by species that inhabits in the supralittoral zone and the second composed by species living in the intertidal zone. The species N. versicolor and E. meleagris that clustered in the first group and S. nucleus that clustered in the second one are to be found indistinctively in the intertidal and the supralittoral zones (Fig. 5).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 4. Cluster analyses based on sampling stations and biotopes, using the Bray–Curtis similarity index. Biotopes are represented by s = supralittoral, m = intertidal and Stations are E1, E2 and E3.

 

 

 

 

 

 Fig. 5 Article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.5. Cluster analyses based on species, using the Bray–Curtis similarity index. Species are numbered as in Table 3.

 

DISCUSSION

In comparison with the work of Torres (1987) for Gibara we found only 10 species in common. Now with the present study, the checklist is enlarged with 14 new records for this coastal zone. The number of species found in the rocky shore of Gibara was lower than previous records for other coastal zones of Cuba (Ortiz, 1976; Herrera et al., 1987).

Table 3 shows that species present different distribution according their natural history, defining a zonation pattern evidenced in the cluster analysis. The species N. Versicolor, E. meleagris and S. nucleus were recorded in the intertidal and supralittoral zone having a wider range of distribution across the shore maybe related with short migrations looking for food and refuge. The numerically dominant species in the intertidal zone, the bivalve H. exustus, is a sessile filter feeder organism very common in this zone and is adapted to resist strong waves.

The dominance of E. ziczac, T. antoni, N. mespillum and C. muricatus in the supralittoral zone was reported by Ortiz (1976) and Herrera et al. (1987) that pointed out that this species are able to resist the dynamic of waves. Factors associated to that finding could be related with their capacity to move faster than other species, what allows them to find desired microhabitats, or their well developed fixation organs that keep them attached to the substrate. The spatial distribution of the molluscs in the rocky shore of Gibara follows the same zonation scheme that other rocky shores around the world where the supralittoral zone is dominated by neritid and littorinid gastropods (Lewis, 1964; Underwood & Chapman, 1998; Lee et al., 2009) and mussels dominates the intertidal zone (Committo et al., 2006).

Species richness and abundance were higher at exposed sites. The degree of wave exposure is a crucial predictor of community structure and processes (Menge and Sutherland, 1987). Olavarria et al. (2001) analyzed the distribution patterns of trophic groups of molluscs at Mazatlán bay (Eastern Tropical Pacific) and they found higher abundance in sites exposed to wave action. It is possible that variations in species richness and abundance among sampling stations in the rocky shore of Gibara could be controlled by the physical environment.

The exposed areas have more available microhabitats such as holes, cracks, crevices and rock pools modelled by wave action. It is know that the features of substrate in an important factor controlling the across and along shore distribution of organisms (Litter el al., 1983). Other factors such as food availability and predation must not be discarded, mostly in the intertidal zone. Garrity & Levings (1981) and Levings & Garrity (1983) found that predation by fish during high tides can exert controlling effects on intertidal communities.

In despite that the effects of the waves on the rocky shores communities of organisms have been investigated, this is the first time that the community structure of molluscs is compared between sheltered and exposed zones in Cuba’s sea shelf. The present study has limitations on spatial and temporal scales because the unbalance sampling effort between sheltered and exposed sites and due to snapshot observations. Nevertheless it represents the first attempt in trying to explain factors acting over the rocky shore community of molluscs in Cuba and provide a quantitative assessment of a habitat that is still very few studied in relation to other coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs, sea grasses beds, coastal lagoons and mangrove forests. These findings illustrates that it is necessary to consider differences in along and across shore features when planning base line and long-term studies of structure and composition of the living organisms in the rocky shores.

REFERENCES

Abbott R (1974) American Seashells. 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 663 pp.

Bray JR, JT Curtis (1957) An ordination of the upland forest communities of Southern Wisconsin. Ecol. Monogr. 27, 325-349.

Commito JA, WE Dow, BM Grupe (2006) Hierarchical spatial structure in soft-bottom mussel beds. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 330, 27-37.

Espinosa J (1987) Moluscos de Cayo Saetía. Garciana 3, 1-4.

Espinosa J, A Rams (1988) Colonias de Petaloconchus macintyi (Mollusca: Gastropoda) en la bahía de Vita, Holguín. Garciana 14, 1-4.

Espinosa J, R Fernández, E Rolan (1994) Catálogo actualizado de los moluscos marinos actuales de Cuba. Sociedad Española de Malacología, 90 pp.

Garrity SD, SC Levings (1981) A predatory-prey interaction between two phycally and biologically constrained tropical rocky shore gastropods: direct, indirect and community effects. Ecol. Monog. 51, 267-286.

Herrera A, R del Valle, N del Castillo (1987) Aplicación de métodos de clasificación numérica   en el estudio ecológico del litoral rocoso. Reporte de Investigación del Instituto de Oceanología, 70, 1-15.

Lee AC, Tan KS, TM Sin (2009) Intertidal assemblages on coastal defence structures in Singapore I: a faunal study. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 22, 237-254.

Levings SC, SD Garrity (1983) Diel and tidal movement of two co-occurring snails; differences in grazing patterns on a tropical rocky shore. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 67, 261-278.

Lewis JR (1964) The ecology of rocky shores. English University Press, London.

Menge BA, JP Sutherland (1987) Community regulation: variation in disturbance, competition, and predation in relation to environmental stress and recruitment. Am. Nat. 130, 730-757.

Ocaña F, A Fernádez, A Silva, P González, Y García (2010) Estructura poblacional de Donax striatus (Bivalvia, Donacidae) en playa Las Balsas, Gibara, Cuba. Rev. Mar. Cost. 2, 27-38.

Olavarria C, JL Carballo, C Vega (2001) Spatio-temporal changes in the trophic structure of rocky intertidal mollusc assemblages on a tropical shore. Ciencias Marinas 27(2), 155-309.

Torres A (1987) Caracoles marinos de Gibara. Garciana 7: 1-4.

Torres A (1988) Informe preliminar de la fauna de Cayo Bariay. Garciana 9, 1-4.

Underwood AJ, MG Chapman (1998) Spatial analyses of intertidal assemblages on sheltered rocky shores. Aust. J. Ecol. 23, 138-157.

Vega A, I Zayas, C Zayas, A Fernández, C Pena (2004) Sea Shell of Yuraguanal beach, Holguin province, Cuba. Of Sea and Shore 26(1), 4-9.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work was carried out in the frame of the research project “Evaluación ecológica de la zona intermareal como base para la gestión del litoral de la provincia Holguín. Sector costero Caletones-Guardalavaca” financed by Programa Territorial de Ciencia y Técnica of the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment (CITMA).

A SHELL COLLECTOR
 
These beauties we seek when the treasure remains,
Enrich our lives, add to our pleasures and gains,
An empty shell is all that it takes,
 (And if it falls we hope it suffers no breaks!),
Our money and time is spent without doubt,
That our collections, our shells, we can’t live without!
 For many it starts young, when we are but small,
 And lasts throughout life, it encompasses all,
We always hope to increase our collection by one,
 But the learning and looking is what makes it fun!
The fascination never stops and the interest won’t quit,
 Our favorite is precious and we so value it!
Share your knowledge and sometimes the shells themselves,
And increase the friendship you find on your shelves,
 For our shells are our treasure and always will be,
 But the true treasure are my friends that share this passion with me!
 
Russel Baughman
(posted on Facebook’s Shell Collectors Club page)

Shellers from the past - #165

Bob (1936 – ) & Betty Lipe. Florida. shellers, shell dealer, author