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Expedition ‘INDIA-2002’ or the search for ‘Shells of the Show’: part I, pp.1-19 + figs. by Jean-Etienne Ghyoot.
Concerning the study of molluscs, India is a fascinating country, not only as an amalgam of several regions due to continental shift, but it is also peculiar because of the presence of a large number of aberrant forms, such as albino specimens, freaks and left handed shells. This may be caused by the high degree of pollution of the sea, especially between Pondicherry and Tuticorin. We can expect that within a few decades a number of species will be extinct. So, an urgent and profound study of the Indian endemic molluscan fauna is necessary. This could result in a better understanding of the rich biodiversity in this region, a very interesting topic for shell collectors. Trading with the local people is really out of question and Indian shells are only sporadically offered by dealers in Europe and the United States.
Jean-Etienne Ghyoot was a regular visitor of South India between 1997 and 2000. In January 2002 he again travelled to India, this time accompanied by two other globetrotters, Patrick Anseeuw and Michel De Buck, and guided by a very important person in this adventure, the dentist Dr. S. Ilango. They had the intention to visit more than 4,000 km of shoreline in a period of seven days, from Goa in the west to Cuddalore in the south-east!
In the first part of their story we follow these shell collectors down the shores of western India from Goa to Quilon.
Key words: India, Ghyoot, Anseeuw, De Buck, S. Ilango.