Among the highlights of the collection is a series of Notocypraea declivis dennyorum Lorenz & Morrison 2013 from different localities. That subspecies has been described only in the year 2013 and the MSF owns a series of paratypes. A large Sassia sp., tentatively identified as parkinsoniana, may turn out to be new to science. Live-collected specimens of Pterochelis triformis, Philippa lutea, and Cancellaria lactea are rarely, if ever, seen. There are exceptional sets of perfect Phasianella australis and Callanaitis disjecta as well as outstanding specimens of Penion maximus, P. mandarinus, and Cabestana spengleri.

Collecting and DNA Sampling in Tasmania

The effect is that no sponges grow due to the mechanical erosion caused by the crab, and spawns of molluscs get eaten or torn away. Within a short period of time, the famous Stanley rockpile, a unique intertidal biotope discovered only five years earlier, had been taken over by the crab resulting in the loss of many species formerly abundant: blue-ringed octopus, Notocypraea comptonii, Stomatella imperrusa, Granata imbricata, and Cumia mestayerae have disappeared. Other formerly common species have become rare. Finally, in sandy sublitoral areas, the turritellid Maoricolpus roseus, another introduction with oysters from New Zealand, has taken over the habitat of the Tasmanian endemic Gazameda gunni. That species was thought to be extinct but we discovered a small population of survivors in a canal at White Beach.

 

An alarming phenomenon that we cannot explain is the disappearance of Phasianotrochus eximius and P. rutilis. The habitat, dense kelp forrest, was still there. We found only dead shells in those places where the species was abundant in 2008 (e.g. Safety Cove, and Rocky Cape). The formerly abundant P. irisodontes was found in abundance only on the west coast at Nelson Beach. Also, the formerly widespread Phasianella australis and P. ventricosa are on the decline, as both were found only in few places. The cowries do not seem to suffer in areas where the habitat is intact, as a fair amount of Notocypraea were encountered in all those sites where the underside of rocks had a brown crinoid under which the cowries hide. The distribution of dennyorum and typical declivis as given in the description proved correct. There is a wide gap in distribution of the species along the northeast, where suitable habitat seems to be sparse (too rough at certain times of the year). The MSF sponsored the expedition by covering all of the costs for accomodation, car rental, and supplies.                       

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