Taveuni is a relatively small island located to the north of Viti Levu, the largest and principal island of Fiji. It is about 37 kilometers long by 12 km wide. There are a number of dive resorts on the island with most dives made off nearby (about 20 Km) Vanua Levu by fast power boats. At Garden Island Resort, usually two boats departed with 10 to 15 divers each every morning with occasional night dive trips to a much smaller group. The number of underwater video and still cameras exceeded anything I have seen on other dive operations.
The dive trips were well run, leaving on time except for delays by divers returning to their rooms for forgotten equipment. Smaller boats were available for trips at individual schedules to a small group of snorkelers or tourists. These trips were primarily to a nearby uninhabited island.
Taveuni is a high island that has a good amount of rain. In fact heavy rainstorms a week earlier had closed all road access to the resort for almost a week due to washed out roads by the numerous rivers. The rain and good soil are the basis for a good amount of agriculture, primarily taro and copra. This was the first island I visited that exports taro. It forms the basis of a good cash crop for most of the natives. There is also a pineapple farm on the north of the island that furnishes pineapple for local hotels.
There generally is a moderately wide reef surrounding the island, but most of the east coast is unavailable due to lack of roads. Reefs usually have clear water except in the neighborhood of river outlets after rains. Corals are varied and in good condition more than 20 to 50 feet from shore. At the reef flat edge, corals are in good condition and the bottom rapidly becomes deep.
While snorkeling, shells were observed, collecting one or two of each species not already collected live and photographed in Taveuni. Shells collected were photographed in a small photo aquarium attempting to provide external details of the animal including, if possible, top of foot, foot crawling surface, mantle, tentacles, eyes and proboscis.
To insure identification of aquarium photos of shells with the actual shells, measurements of shell length were taken prior to the aquarium photographs. Shells were preserved in alcohol and have been donated to Bishop Museum along with these volumes
Description of shell animals was my primary goal. However, to make the animal photos usable, their shells had to be identified. Therefore, on return to Honolulu, photographs were taken of shells which were cleaned only to the extent necessary for ID.
An adequate number of views and magnified details were included to accurately describe the shells and allow identification of the shells from the photos. In these photos, millimeter scales were provided to establish measurements. A second goal was to describe the protoconch, periostracum, and operculum which are most often ignored in popular literature. The shell photos include detail photos of periostracum when indicated. In all cases, notes were taken describing the periostracum during the process of cleaning for photography. In many cases, periostracum was not observed due to coverings of algae and calcareous matter. Opercula were photographed when this could be done without overly disturbing the animal which was to be preserved.
The following pages will illustrate shells photograhed,