In October 2008 the Mollusc Collection received an enormous boost in the form of the donation of the shell collection of Zvi Orlin, a private collector from Qiryat Motzkin. This world wide marine shell collection contained approximately 8-10 thousand samples and will double almost the number of species in the collection.


Short Biography of Zvi Orlin

Zvi was born in Lithuania on 6 October 1925, but at the age of three he moved, like so many Lithuanians of Jewish descent, with his parents to South Africa. There he received his formal education and served also in the South African army. He met also his wife Zvia over there.


In 1947 they moved to what was then called Palestine and since 1958 settled in Qiryat Motzkin, north of Haifa. By profession he was an internal auditor and was employed most of his life at the seed-company "HaZera", from which he retired in 1993. 


From a young age Zvi was interested in nature and tried always to name all the plants and animals which crossed his way. Soon after his retirement he formed a small group with some of his friends in the Haifa region and conducted with them hikes all over the country. They walked often the beaches north and south of Haifa, where they noticed the large piles of shells on the beaches especially after the winter storms. From that moment he started to collect shells.


In the beginning the late Prof. Alexander Barash helped him to identify his finds, which "task" was taken over by Henk Mienis when the health of Barash deteriorated, however, not before Zvi had tried to identify the material by himself. In order to carry out such a difficult task he brought together a fine collection of modern shell guides and specialized, scientific monographs, which were likewise donated to the library of the National Collections of Natural History of the TelAvivUniversity.


Since the Mediterranean Sea was at a stone throw from his apartment in Qiryat Motzkin he was initially mainly working on shells from the Mediterranean Sea. Later on he became extremely interested in the molluscs of the Red Sea in general and those from the Gulf of Aqaba in particular.


A lack of readily available information about the marine molluscs of the Red Sea made him decide to draw up a check list of the Red Sea shells present not only in his own collection, but also in those of several other private collectors in Israel. In order to complete the list, he checked also the collections of the TelAvivUniversity and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Since Henk Dekker in the Netherlands was working on a similar list, they joint forces, which resulted in the publication of the "Check-list of Red Sea Mollusca" (2000).


The interest of Zvi for shells did not stop near the borders of Israel. With his wife he traveled to numerous destinations abroad and from all those journeys he returned with new additions for his fast growing collection. Another way to enrich his collection was the exchange of material with other collectors all over the world.


His collection got another boost when he was offered the private shell collection of the late Josef Goldstein of kibbutz Sarid. In this way he managed to amass in a relatively short time, about 15 years, a huge well documented collection, of which he computerized all the relative important data.


Zvi did not stick to simply collecting but wrote also some 30 mainly popular articles and book-reviews in journals published in Israel (Triton), New Zealand (Cookia & Poirieria); Australia (Australian Shell News & West Australian Shell Collector), South Africa (The Strandloper); Indonesia (Berita Solaris), U.S.A. (American Conchologist), Italy (La Conchiglia) and the Netherlands (Spirula). A complete list of articles will be published after incorporation of all his shells in the general mollusc collection of the TelAvivUniversity.


Already several years ago he decided that at some time he will donate the collection to an institute for higher learning in Israel. In 2008 he decided in favour of the TelAvivUniversity and as mentioned above in October 2008 the collection was transferred to Tel Aviv. Without doubt this was not an easy decision for Zvi, but now he knows at least that a further generation of zoologist in general and hopefully malacologist in particular can use his collection and library for their studies.


We thank therefore Zvi, the Desert Gazelle as he was nicknamed, for his generosity. In his honour Lunulicardia orlini Mienis, 2009, a bivalve species from the Red Sea, was recently discribed.