Fieldtrip to Patea

Patea Field Collection December 4 and 5

Simon and Bruce checking it out near Lake Rotorangi (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)

Last weekend, 4 and 5 December,  Bruce Marshall (Te Papa’s resident malacologist and Collection Manager Mollusca) and Simon Whittaker (Manager, Te Papa Collections) visited Kristelle Plimmer (Curator, Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki) in Patea, and the three of them collected minute land snails (24 species found) and specimens of a minute freshwater snail at a seepage in the forest at Lake Rotorangi.

The freshwater snail is possibly Sororipyrgus kutukutu Haase, 2008, the holotype of which can be see on our collections on line site, but confirmation awaits study of the anatomy and DNA.

Sororipyrgus kutukutu Haase, 2008; holotype

Sororipyrgus kutukutu Haase, 2008; holotype

A further rich collection of tiny freshwater snails was made at a seepage in a cutting on Ball Road on the way to the Lake.

Next day they segued to the Patea River, where they collected specimens of the freshwater limpet Latia neritoides, the only light emitting freshwater mollusc in the world. That evening Bruce demonstrated its light production.

Bruce collecting tiny freshwater snails (length about 2.4 mm) from a seep in the forest at Lake Rotorangi (4/12/2010)

Bruce collecting tiny freshwater snails (length about 2.4 mm) from a seep in the forest at Lake Rotorangi (4/12/2010)

After this they visited Waverley Beach, where they viewed the spectacular, richly fossiliferous, 3.5 million year old Waverley Shellbed, exposed at the foot of the cliff to the north of the settlement.

Further north on the beach they viewed standing and fallen trees from a drowned fossil forest exposed by erosion, as well as fossil soils, thick peat layers and beds of seeds and leaves.

Bruce and Simon checking out the fossils in the Waverley Shellbed, north of the settlement at Waverley Beach. The trunks of the fossil trees from the drowned forest can be seen in the distance (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)

Bruce and Simon checking out the fossils in the Waverley Shellbed, north of the settlement at Waverley Beach. The trunks of the fossil trees from the drowned forest can be seen in the distance (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)

Bruce discovered casts of hitherto unknown bivalve in the sediment containing the trees, which had evidently been deposited in a swamp. The placename of nearby Waitotara, incidentally, is derived from trees from a fossil forest exposed in the Waitotara River.

Bruce looking for fossil bivalves in the sediment containing fossils tree from the drowned forest exposed on Waverley Beach (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)

Bruce looking for fossil bivalves in the sediment containing fossils tree from the drowned forest exposed on Waverley Beach (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)

2 Responses

  1. lucyhoffman

    Kia ora Kristelle – apologies about getting the Museum’s name wrong – I’ve corrected it now.
    Thanks
    Lucy

    Reply
  2. kristelle plimmer

    Kia ora Lucy

    the museum in Patea is Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki; we very much enjoyed having our colleagues from Te Papa visit and hope they come again. We have heaps of exciting natural history in the district and we are very happy to share it. nga mihi nui, Kristelle

    Reply

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