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Marshall Islands

22 May 2020

Marine Life (definitive stamps)

Marshall Islands: Marine Life Definitive Stamps, 22 May 2020. Images from Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation and eBay.

Technical Specifications:

MARINE LIFE DEFINITIVE 4V: 55c, $2.20, $8.80, $21.10
Country: Marshall Islands
Topic: Fauna and Flora, Fish, Marine Life
Item Number: MAR2006D0
Date of Issue: 22-May-20
Printing Method: Offset lithography

55¢ Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris)

The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. It is a member of the family Delphinidae of toothed whales.

Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the water front first and twists its body as it rises into the air. When it reaches its maximum height, the dolphin descends back into the water, landing on its side. A dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap; the swimming and rotational speed of the dolphin as it spins underwater affects the number of spins it can do while airborne. These spins may serve several functions. Dolphins may also make nose-outs, tail slaps, flips, head slaps, “salmon leaps”, and side and back slaps.

$2.20 Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus)

Spirobranchus giganteus, commonly known as the Christmas tree worm, is a tube-building polychaete worm belonging to the family Serpulidae. Both its common and Latin names refer to the two chromatically hued spiral structures, the most common feature seen by divers. The multicolored spirals are highly derived structures for feeding and respiration.

While the worm itself has no commercial fishery importance, it is of interest to marine aquarists and divers. The variously colored worm crowns make extremely popular underwater photographic subjects for sport divers. Many aquarists who have miniature reef aquaria purposely include heads of coral that S. giganteus specimens inhabit.

$8.80 Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari)

The spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) is a cartilaginous fish of the eagle ray family, Myliobatidae. As traditionally recognized, it is found globally in tropical regions, including the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Recent authorities have restricted it to the Atlantic (including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico) with other populations recognized as the ocellated eagle ray (A. ocellatus) and Pacific white-spotted eagle ray (A. laticeps). Spotted eagle rays are most commonly seen alone, but occasionally swim in groups. They are ovoviviparous, the female retaining the eggs then releasing the young as miniature versions of the parent.

This ray can be identified by its dark dorsal surface covered in white spots or rings. Near the base of the ray’s relatively long tail, just behind the pelvic fins, are several venomous, barbed stingers. Spotted eagle rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans, and will sometimes dig with their snouts to look for food buried in the sand of the sea bed. These rays are commonly observed leaping out of the water, and on at least two occasions have been reported as having jumped into boats, in one incident resulting in the death of a woman in the Florida Keys. The spotted eagle ray is hunted by a wide variety of sharks. The rays are considered near threatened on the IUCN Red List. They are fished mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa, the most common market being in commercial trade and aquariums. They are protected in the Great Barrier Reef.

$21.10 Vase Sponge (Callyspongia plicifera)

Sponges, the members of the phylum Porifera (meaning “pore bearer”), are a basal Metazoa (animal) clade as a sister of the Diploblasts. They are multicellular organisms that have bodies full of pores and channels allowing water to circulate through them, consisting of jelly-like mesohyl sandwiched between two thin layers of cells. The branch of zoology that studies sponges is known as spongiology.

Sponges have unspecialized cells that can transform into other types and that often migrate between the main cell layers and the mesohyl in the process. Sponges do not have nervous, digestive or circulatory systems. Instead, most rely on maintaining a constant water flow through their bodies to obtain food and oxygen and to remove wastes. Sponges were first to branch off the evolutionary tree from the common ancestor of all animals, making them the sister group of all other animals.

Callyspongia plicifera, the azure vase sponge, is a species of sea sponge belonging to the family Callyspongiidae. It is native to the Bahamas where it is found at a depth of 31.5-44.2 m. It was first described in 1814 by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. It is a vase shaped demosponge that grow up to 27 cm in height and 13.5 cm in diameter. Its outer surface consists of 0.5–1 cm deep rounded pits and grooves while the inner surface is smooth with 1–5 mm scattered openings. The vent at the top is up to 6.5 cm in diameter and has a thin, transparent collar. They are pink to purple in colour and fluoresce light blue.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands currently utilizes the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation as its stamp production agent.  As a result, many of its issues have little to no relevance with topics related to the island.

From Linn’s Stamp News, published 15 January 1998:

World Stamps

Marshall Islands Post renews relationship with IGPC effective Jan. 1

Jan 15, 2018, 1 PM

By Molly Goad

Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) has been appointed the exclusive philatelic agent of the Pacific Island nation of the Marshall Islands effective Jan. 1.

This is not the first time IGPC and Marshall Islands Post have teamed up; IGPC was the first international philatelic agency to represent this former United States administrated trust territory when it began issuing its own postage stamps as a republic on May 2, 1984.

IGPC continued as the philatelic agent for the Marshall Islands until Aug. 1, 1989, when Unicover Corp. of Cheyenne, Wyo., took over that role. On that date, the Marshall Islands issued a set of seven 25¢ booklet stamps (Scott 232-237) and a single $1 souvenir sheet (238) marking the 20th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

Located in Brooklyn, N.Y., IGPC is the world’s largest philatelic agency, representing more than 70 international government postal authorities.

“Joining forces once again with the Marshall Islands is a very happy day for all of us,” said Sam Malamud, IGPC president. “The history of our two organizations shares a common goal and a driving force to help build the international stamp collecting of the beautiful stamps of the Marshall Islands.”

The announcement from IGPC reported that Marshall Islands Post will welcome 2018 with new stamp issues, including $7 commemorative stamps celebrating the recent royal engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and a sheet of four stamps to honor the Year of the Dog.

The stamps were designed by IGPC and printed by offset lithography. They are available for purchase at all post offices throughout the Marshall Islands and via IGPC.

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