Haloragis stokesii F. Br.

Haloragis stokesii


Austral Islands: Rapa

local names:


This species is endemic to the island of Rapa, a very similar but nevertheless distinct species is known from Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

There are several other forms, which may turn out to represent distinct species, Haloragis sp. ‘South Coast’ from Pitcairn Island and Haloragis sp. ‘Tahiti’ from Tahiti.



[1] Jean-Yves Meyer: Rapa, îles Australes: guide de la flore indigène et endémique. Direction de l’Environnement, Délégation à la Recherche: STPmultipress, Papeete 2011


Tachygyia microlepis (Duméril & Bibron)

Short-legged Tongan Skink (Tachygyia microlepis)

The enigmatic Short-legged Tongan Skink was described in the year 1839.

This species, which may well have been endemic to the island of Tongatapu, is known from only two specimens that were collected during the L’Astrolabe expedition in 1827.

The Short-legged Tongan Skink was a quite large terrestrial species with somewhat reduced legs, it probably fell prey to the numerous feral mammals, like cats, dogs, pigs and rats, that had been imported to the Tongan islands, both by Polynesians and Europeans.

The species is now generally considered extinct.



[1] G. R. Zug; I. Ineich; G. Pregill; A. M. Hamilton: Lizards of Tonga with Description of a New Tongan Treeskink (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia samoensis Group). Pacific Science 66(2): 225-237. 2012

Chloridops kona Wilson

Kona Grosbeak (Chloridops kona)

The Kona Grosbeak was discovered at the end of the 19th century, at that time it was restricted to a tiny, only about 10 km² large area in the north of the Kona district on the island of Hawai’i.

This rather plump and inconspicuous looking bird fed almost exclusively on the dried seeds of the Naio tree (Myoporum sandwicense (A. Gray)), and could often be located by the cracking sound of its feeding.

R. C. L. Perkins was one of the few people, that saw the bird in life, he wrote about it in the year 1893.:

The Palila (Chloridops kona), though an interesting bird on account of its peculiar structure, is a singularly uninteresting one in its habits. It is a dull, sluggish, solitary bird, and very silent – its whole existence may be summed up in the words “to eat.” Its food consists of the seeds of the fruit of the aaka (bastard sandal-tree [Myoporum sandwicense (A. Gray)], and probably in other seasons of those of the sandal-wood tree), and as these are very minute, its whole time seems to be taken up in cracking the extremely hard shells of this fruit, for which its extraordinarily powerful beak and heavy head have been developed. I think there must have been hundreds of the small white kernels in those that I examined. The incessant cracking of the fruits when one of these birds is feeding, the noise of which can be heard for a considerable distance, renders the bird much easier to see than it otherwise would be. … I never heard it sing (once mistook the young Rhodacanthis’ song for that of Chloridops), but my boy informed me that he had heard it once, and its song was not like that of Rhodacanthis. Only once did I see it display any real activity, when a male and female were in active pursuit of one another amongst the sandal-trees. Its beak is nearly always very dirty, with a brown substance adherent to it, which must be derived from the sandal-tree.

Note, that the name Palila is actually the Hawaiian vernacular name for another drepanidine bird species – Loxioides bailleui (Oustalet).

The last living Kona Grosbeaks were seen in the year 1894.



[1] R. C. L. Perkins: Notes on Collecting in Kona. The Ibis 6(5): 101-111. 1893
[2] D. Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
[3] H. D. Pratt; P. L. Bruner; D. G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987
[4] E. Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987
[5] H. D. Pratt: The Hawaiian Honeycreepers: Drepanidinae. Oxford Univ. Pr. 2005


Depiction from: ‘W. Rothschild: The Avifauna of Laysan and the neighbouring islands with a complete history to date of the birds of the Hawaiian possession. 1893-1900’

by courtesy of Erin Clements Rushing


Veronica pubescens Benth.

Coromandel Koromiko (Veronica pubescens)


New Zealand: Great Barrier Island; Little Barrier Island; Mokohinau Islands; North Island; Pakihi Island; Rotoroa Island

local names:

koromiko – New Zealand


This hebe species grows as an up to 2 m tall shrub and has light – to bright violet flowers.

The Coromandel Koromiko is often associated with pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa Sol. ex Gaertn.) forest, but is also commonly found at open places.

The species contains three subspecies: the nominate form occurs on the Coromandel Peninsula, North Island and some of its offshore islands like Pakihi- and Rotoroa Island; Veronica pubescens ssp. rehuarum (Bayly & de Lange) Garn.-Jones is endemic to Great Barrier Island; Veronica pubescens ssp. sejuncta (Bayly & de Lange) Garn.-Jones occurs on Great Barrier-, Little Barrier Island, and on the Mokohinau Islands.


Veronica pubescens ssp. rehuarum

Photo: Jack Warden

(under creative commons license (4.0))

Orobophana musiva (Gould)

Mosaic Orobophana Snail (Orobophana musiva)

This species was described in 1847, it is found in Fiji, in Samoa, and obviously in Tuvalu as well.

The Mosaic Orobophana Snail is found under decaying vegetation at low elevations, very often near the coast.

It is a very small species, the shells reach heights of only about 0,2 cm, they vary in color from several shades of yellow and orange to reddish-brown.



[1] Robert H. Cowie; Rebecca J. Rundell: The land snails of a small tropical island, Aunu’u, American Samoa. Pacific Science 56(2): 143-147. 2002

Haliophyle flavistigma (Warren)

Haliophyle flavistigma

This species appears to be restricted to the island of Maui, at least one other, closely related, but not yet described species occurs on the nearby island of Moloka’i. [2]

There is obviously still not much known about the biology of this species, a situation that is shared with so many other Polynesian insect species …. [1]


[1] E. C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 7, Macrolepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958
[2] F. G. Howarth; W. P. Mull: Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin. University of Hawaii Press 1992


Photo: Hank L. Oppenheimer

(under creative commons licence (3.0))

Acacia simplex (Sparrman) Pedley

Acacia simplex


Fiji: Beqa, Fulaga, Katafaga, Komo, Lakeba, Leleuvia, Makaluva, Matuku, Moturiki, Naigani, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Ovalau, Rabi, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yacata, Yanucalailai
Samoa: Savai’i, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fafa, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Motutapu, Nuku, Oneata, Onevai, Onevao, Pangaimotu, Tau, Tongatapu, Tufaka, ‘Uiha, ‘Uta Vava’u
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

tatagia – Fiji
tataqia – Fiji



[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 3. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1985