Golden Oyster, not a true oyster

Golden Oyster, Anomia trigonopsis 51-83 mm.

The golden oyster is an irregular, oval shell with different valves. The convex upper valve is wrinkled, shiny and deep gold to slivery white. The thin, translucent lower valve grows to fit the contours of the underlying rock or shell. The upper valve develops the same sculpture because during growth the two valve margins fit together. Some lower valves are bright green. The hardened byssal plug emerges through a large hole near the hinge to secure the golden oyster onto the rock or shell.1


I used to find dead insects in your pockets, 2020, installation detail.

Nana and I would walk the beach; not far from her house, looking for these shells, each time I found one of the ‘right’ shells, I would feel a sense of satisfaction. She was clear about what she wanted, while she loved many shells, these were The Best. Golden, thin and fragile, what we were collecting them for, I will never know. Going back now, to these beaches with my children, I don’t find these shells. The coast has changed with the expanding city and housing developments. Our collecting may have contributed to this loss, or conversely it may also performed a preservative role. Those places and moments now exist in her jars, which I keep care of (Fig. 1). 1 Morley, Margaret S. Photographic Guide to Seashells of New Zealand, (page 39).

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