Revised descriptions of New Zealand Cenozoic Mollusca from Beu and Maxwell (1990)
(Pl. 48k): Castlecliff, Wanganui, Castlecliffian (GNS, early collection)
Beu & Maxwell (1990): Chapter 16; p. 358; pl. 48 k.
Synonymy: Murex zelandicus Quoy & Gaimard 1833, p. 529
Type species of Poirieria Jousseaume, 1880
Classification: Muricidae: Muricinae
Description: Moderately large for family (40-65 mm high), prominently spinous, with thin shell, low to moderately tall spire (a little shorter than aperture and canal), moderately long, open, curved anterior canal, and relatively short, rounded whorls. Sculpture of several long, semitubular, open spines only; longest spines (up to 40 mm long) at shoulder angle; on last whorl 3 or 4 lower rows of shorter, semitubular spines formed as digitations in the thin, flared outer lip; shoulder spine and 1 small lower one visible on spire whorls. The only other sculpture is a prominent fasciole formed as a spiral row of former long anterior canals. Protoconch mamillate, of 2 bulbous whorls with a large apex, ending in a sinuous varix.
Comparison: Species of Poirieria were revised by Maxwell (1971), and Recent species were reviewed by Marshall & Houart (1995). P. primigena (Duntroonian-Opoitian) is similar to (and was presumably ancestral to) P. zelandica, differing in its consistently shorter spire, on which the first row of small spines below the shoulder (which is visible on P. zelandica) cannot be seen. P. parva (Otaian-Altonian localities in Northland: Pakaurangi Point and Parengarenga Harbour) is small (largest 28 mm high), with more prominent secondary spines and a thicker and more reflected outer lip than P. zelandica, and with a small but subcylindrical protoconch of 2.5 smooth whorls. The other three named species belong in a distinct species group, having weak secondary spines, or no spines at all below the shoulder: P. kopua Dell, 1956, a very small (to 20 mm high) modern bathyal species lacking secondary spines; P. delli (Pl. 20p), a large, solid species with a low spire, only five large peripheral spines and a mamillate protoconch of 2 whorls, uncommon at several Waitakian-Altonian localities in North Otago (Oamaru and Waitaki Valley); and P. denticulifera, a small species (also up to 20 mm high) similar to P. delli but with a single row of secondary spines, a denticulate outer lip, and a tall, narrowly conical protoconch of 4 whorls, occurring at Bortonian to early Whaingaroan (Middle Eocene to Early Oligocene) localities in North Otago and South Canterbury. Maxwell (1992, p. 121) recorded a second species similar to P. primigena occurring alongside P. denticulifera at McCulloch's Bridge, South Canterbury (Kaiatan). A possibly distinct species similar to P. delli but with a lower spire is recorded from Hurupi Stream, Palliser Bay (Tongaporutuan). Marshall & Houart (1995) described a further Recent species, P. syrinx, living at 480-780 m off the northeastern North Island and in Cook Strait. P. syrinx differs from P. zelandica in its smaller size and in having the bases of the long spines set much further back from the outer lip, so that the proximal part of each spine becomes fully tubular after the third teleoconch whorl. They recorded both P. zelandica and P. syrinx from the bathyal fauna of Onoke Formation (early Nukumaruan, late Pliocene) at Palliser Bay, but as yet this is the one fossil record of P. syrinx.
Distribution: Opoitian-Recent; Recent, New Zealand (type). A common fossil in many soft-bottom shelf facies in New Zealand Pliocene and Pleistocene localities, and particularly common and well preserved at Castlecliff, Wanganui; common today, dredged on the shelf all around New Zealand in c. 20-200 m, but recorded from 0-540 m (Marshall & Houart 1995, p. 28).
Cite this publication as: "A.G. Beu and J.I. Raine (2009). Revised
descriptions of New Zealand Cenozoic Mollusca from Beu and Maxwell (1990). GNS
Science miscellaneous series no. 27."
© GNS Science, 2009
(Included with a PDF facsimile file copy of New Zealand Geological Survey Paleontological Bulletin 58 in CD version from: Publications Officer, GNS Science, P.O. Box 30368 Lower Hutt, New Zealand)