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Seashells of Norfolk Island on stamps

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In this issue we find five of the many shells that are found on the beaches and rock pools of Norfolk Island's shoreline.

The 15c stamp features a plicate Conch and a Zelebor Wentletrap. Wentletrap is derived from the Dutch language meaning spiral stairs, these are also known as ladder or staircase shells. Some conch shells also make pearls and trumpets.

The 60c stamp illustrates the Violet Snail and Ram's Horn shell, these are pelagic and normally wash up on the shore, so although being quite common, to find a good specimen is sometimes hard due to their fragile nature, being beaten by the waves against the shoreline tends to damage them.

The $1.50 stamp features the Captain and Hebrew Cone shell which belong to predatory snails that maybe are quite dangerous if one tries to take their house while they are still at home, Cone shell snails have a Venomous harpoon that they use to catch their food.

The $1.80 has the Serpents Head and Pacific Dear Cowrie which are very pretty Shells and quite collectable, however it is better to leave them alive in their pools. Cowrie shells of various types have historically been used in various places worldwide as a form of money; also the old Italian word for these shells is the root for porcelain, as they do look like they are made of porcelain.

Lastly the $3.00 has the humble Hihi or Black Nerite and the Turreted Nerite, these live on the rocks surrounding Norfolk and are collected and eaten as a delicacy, normally in the form of hihi pie. The Turreted Nerite (the stripey one shown) is not as common as the Black Nerite which are normally completely black or black with a white patch or this white patch might just be the result of the black getting polished off by the rocks and surf.

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