Hawaiian Shell News
An Educational publication of the
Hawaiian Malacological Society

Molluscs of Fiji by Wesley Thorason

Mollusks of Taveuni, Fiji
Introduction & Comments
Wesley M. Thorsson
August, 1996

This chapter provides photographic and written descriptions of the common shells of Taveuni, Fiji: during a two week trip to the area in August/September, 1995 for the purpose of photographing animals of as many mollusk species as possible. These volumes are part of a series of similar volumes that to date deal with shells from Hawaii, Samoa, Guam & Yap, Kosrae & Pohnpei, Vanuatu, and Baja, Mexico. All but the Hawaii set of volumes deal only with shells found on the reef flats easily accessible by snorkeling. The Hawaiian volumes are more extensive including collecting by diving and dredging as well as by snorkeling and cover a period of about 20 years. In Hawaii, only the years since 1991 have emphasized descriptions of mollusk animals.
Collecting in Taveuni was by myself and my wife, Elizabeth Thorsson and included only one snorkel in front of the Garden Island Resort hotel. The collecting and shell photography phase of the trip included a number of failures. First, most luggage did not arrive on our flight but was delivered a day later, delaying the first snorkel. Next, I failed to pack alcohol for preserving shells and light shields for my aquarium photography. Without these shields, flash reflections from the aquarium surfaces ruins many photos, so a trip to the next town located some plastic food containers which were cut to the size of aquarium walls and stiffened by part of a plastic clipboard found at another store. To give a normal background color, large green tree leaves were used between plastic layers. Plastic was sand papered for a matte finish that reduces reflections. The major failure occurred after photographing a few of the shells collected in front of the hotel. After finishing film reel T3, the camera would not rewind. As rewind and winding is automatic with no manual backup, the film was removed and rewound manually but all photos were ruined in the process. The camera was no longer usable.

So the trip changed to a tourist trip from that point. Underwater pictures were taken at several locations and are included for information on the reef areas available. For background as to the Island, other photos are included.

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