HMNS’ Associate Curator of Malacology Tina Petway got a special treat last week in the form of one exceptionally dapper shell expert. World-renowned Belgian malacologist Guido Poppe traveled to Houston for the express purpose of visiting our museum and surveying our utterly impressive (and at times underappreciated) Hall of Malacology.
It was Poppe’s first visit to HMNS and was spurred on after he met Petway at a malacology conference in Philadelphia. “We’ve never had someone at this level come and visit,” Petway said of Poppe, who has authored numerous reference books on shells in the Phillipines — where he now lives — and has named nearly 200 new species.
Poppe was particularly impressed with a yellow Spondylus, or spiny oyster, on display.
“These are really rare; there are less than a dozen in the world,” Poppe said.
And even this world-traveling diver was impressed by the world’s largest sea shell, on display here at the HMNS Hall of Malacology. “I’ve never seen one this big!”