Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taiwan Seashells (I) FDC

Taiwan FDC
Name: Seashells of Taiwan (1st Series)
Date of Issue: 11 October 2007

Surrounded by water and situated in the middle of the Western Pacific Island Arc, Taiwan has an excellent geographical location for supporting a wide variety of marine life. The north coast of Taiwan proper is rocky; the east coast and the Hengchun peninsula are rich with coral reefs; the west coast and the Taiwan Strait are sandy; and the offshore islands offer even more complex ecologies. What's more, because the Kuroshio Current passes by, a great number of seashells are found hereabouts.

1. Marchia loebbeckei (NT$5.00): These unusual looking shells are diamond-shaped or semi-triangular, with banana-leaf-shaped protrusions from their axial ribs. Most of these shells are pink or orange, while a few are bright red. The shells are thin and fragile. Consequently, there are few perfect specimens. Their apertures are round and siphonal canals often forked. Marchia loebbeckei are found on the pebble seabed 100 to 200 meters deep and are occasionally seen in the waters around northern Taiwan.

2. Harpa major (NT$5.00): Shaped like pears or fists, and reddish brown in color, these shells feature intricate patterns. With low spires and well-defined axial ribs on their body whorls, they look like harps. For this reason, they are called major harps in the west. Harpa major dwell in shallow water on sand no deeper than 30 meters.

3. Epitonium scalare (NT$12.00): Known as precious wentletraps in English, these beautiful shells are white and lustrous with rounded whorls, very deep sutures and prominent axial varices that run across all of the whorls. Their apertures are nearly round with thick lips. Epitonium scalare live in shallow water on sand and are often found in the continental slope of the Taiwan Strait.

4. Cypraea aurantium (NT$12.00): Known as golden cowries in English, these are large egg-shaped shells with shiny and reddish orange dorsums and white bases and extremities. Their narrow, long, slit-like apertures have orange teeth. Golden cowries used to be considered rare, but then it was discovered that they live in well-hidden caves in coral reefs and are just hard to spot.

2007 Seashells of Taiwan FDC (1st Series)
2008 Seashells of Taiwan FDC (2nd Series)
2009 Seashells of Taiwan FDC (3rd Series)

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