|John Fatu Honored|
|By Harry G. Lee|
|The October 7th issue of The Nautilus, Americas oldest and longest continuing malacological journal, featured a paper by D. L. Geiger* describing a new species of abalone found in the shallows around the islands of Tonga, Vanuatu, the Solomons, and the Mariannas. The species reaches six cm., is marked with muddy green, brown, and yellow-brown blotches, and has a light steel gray nacreous interior. Characteristically, strong knobby bumps decorate the shells dorsum. Geiger went on to describe and illustrate the animals soft parts as well (historically uncharacteristic for an abalone description). He compared the new species to the protean Haliotis varia Linnaeus, 1758.|
| Years ago Harald Rehder had recognized specimens of an
abalone collected by (now) Jacksonville Shell Club (JSC) member
John Fatu near Tofua Is., Haapai Group, Tonga in April,
1971 belonged to an undescribed taxon. Dr. Rehder intended to
name it in Johns honor, but he died before completing the
task. For decades collectors (including a few JSC members) knew
John Fatus abalone by Harald Rehders manuscript name
(technically "not available" as it was a "nude
name"). Now it is official: Haliotis
fatui Geiger, 1999!
We tip our hats to John, who undoubtedly has collected (and eaten) more specimens than any other malacologist and commend Dr. Geiger for commemorating John Fatus work and the initiatives of our late friend, Harald Rehder.
*Geiger, D. L., 1999. Description of Haliotis fatui new species (Gastropoda: Vetigastropoda) from the tropical western Pacific. Nautilus 113(3): 73-77. Oct. 7.