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))


Pacificagrion dolorosa Fraser

Sorrowful Damselfly (Pacificagrion dolorosa)

The Sorrowful Damselfly was described in the year 1953 on the basis of a male, that had been collected on the island of ‘Upolu, Samoa.

The species is almost unknown.


The Sorrowful Damselfly was not found during recent field studies, however, the exatct locality appears to be only insufficiently known. [2]


There obviously is at least one other, not yet described species on the island of Tutuila. [1][2]



[1] Milen Marinov; Warren Chin; Eric Edwards; Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[2] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015


Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))


edited: 23.08.2017

Anthophila chelaspis (Meyrick)

Marquesan Metalmark Moth (Anthophila chelaspis)

The Marquesan Metalmark Moth was described in the year 1929.

This species is endemic to the Marquesas, where it occurs with at least two subspecies (a third one seems to exist but hasn’t been described yet), of which the nominate race lives on Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa, while the other two are found on Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou respectively.

The moth reaches a wingspan of about 1,4 cm.

The biology is not known, however, the caterpillars probably feed on the only native fig species, the aoa (Ficus prolixa G. Forst.). [1]



[1] J. F. Gates Clarke: Pyralidae and Microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 416. 1986


ssp. chelaspis (Meyrick) from Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa

ssp. euthenia (Clarke) from Nuku Hiva

Photo: Peter T. Oboyski; by courtesy of Peter T. Oboyski

Moths of French Polynesia


edited: 23.08.2017

Rhyncogonus submetallicus Van Dyke

Tahitian Metallic Rhyncogonus Weevil (Rhyncogonus submetallicus)

The Tahitian Metallic Rhyncogonus Weevil was described in 1933.

The species reaches a length of about 1,3 cm, the upper side is glossy black with metallic greenish bronze shining elytra, it is covered with gray to very light fulvous hair. [1]



[1] Edwin C. Van Dyke: Rhyncogonus submetallicus, new species, from Tahiti. Bishop Museum Bulletin 113: 51-52. 1933

Thyrocopa geminipuncta Walsingham

Twinspotted Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa geminipuncta)

The Twinspotted Thyrocopa Moth obviously occurs on the islands of Maui and Moloka’i.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 2 to 2,2 cm.



[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 9; Microlepidoptera Part 2; Gelechioidea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1978
[2] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009

Dryophthorus distinguendus Perkins

Hawaiian Driftwood Weevil (Dryophthorus distinguendus)

The Hawaiian Driftwood Weevil was described in the year 1900.

The species was found first on the island of Laysan, namely in wooden boxes that came from the main islands. It was subsequently found also on nearly all of the other Hawaiian Islands (Hawai’i, Kure, Lana’i, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, and O’ahu), but appears in lists of extinct species, which, in my opinion, is quite strange.



[1] R. C. L. Perkins: Coleoptera, Weevils. Bishop Museum Bulletin 31: 53-66. 1926

Hypolimnas bolina (L.)

Blue Moon Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina)

The Blue Moon Butterfly, also known under the markedly ugly name Great Eggfly, was described in 1764.

The species has an exceptional wide area of distribution, which stretches from Madagascar over Asia and Australia into eastern Polynesia.

Three of the several subspecies occur within the Polynesian region, these are: Hypolimnas bolina ssp. otaheitae (Felder), which occurs on the Austral- and the Cook Islands, the Marquesas, the Society Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, and on Rapa Nui; Hypolimnas bolina ssp. pallescens (Butler), which is found in Fiji, in Tokelau, in Tonga, and in Samoa; Hypolimnas bolina ssp. rarik (Eschscholtz), which occurs in some parts of Kiribati as well as in Tuvalu. Another subspecies, Hypolimnas bolina ssp. nerina (Fabricius) is native to Australia and regularely visits New Zealand, but has not yet established a breeding population there, but probably will do so in time, and thus should be mentioned here too.

Males and females show a striking sexual dimorphism, males are always black with some white spots on the wings, which again are surrounded by a glossy dark blue ring. The females are much more variable in coloration, they furthermore produce several morphotypes, which, in appearance, often resemble other butterfly species, a phenomenon called mimicry.

The males are very territorial, while the females are wandering over wide ranges.

The larvae feed on plant species from the Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Malvaceae and the Urticaceae family.


In Niue this butterfly is called pepe mahina lanu.



[1] R. H. Van Zwaluwenburg: The Insects of Canton Island. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 11(3): 300-312. 1943
[2] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[3] Jaqueline Y. Miller; Lee D. Miller: The Butterflies of the Tonga Islands and Niue, Cook Islands, with the Descriptions of two new subspecies. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 34: 1-24. 1993
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[5] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[6] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012


Photo: Antonio Machado; by courtesy of Antonio Machado


edited: 18.08.2017

Xanthagrion erythroneurum Sélys

Red and Blue Damsel (Xanthagrion erythroneurum)

The Red and Blue Damsel is (as far as known) the only species in its genus.

It is distributed mainly in Australia including Tasmania, but occurs also on New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands as well as on Fiji, where it seems to be quite rare, however. The species is said to occur in New Zealand as well, but I could not find any source yet to confirm this.

The Red and Blue Damsel is about 3 cm long, the sexes in this species are more or less identical in their colouration.

The ovoposition obviously takes place in standing water (?).


Photo: Sandra Wallace; by courtesy of Sandra Wallace


Sphenarches bilineatus Yano

Two-lined Feather Moth (Sphenarches bilineatus)

The Two-lined Feather Moth, which is closely related to the Indopacific Feather Moth (Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker)), was described in the year 1963.

The species, which reaches a wingspan of about 1,5 cm, is occurs obviously exclusively in Samoa.

The biology of this species is hitherto completely unknown.



[1] Koji Yano: Notes on South Pacific Pterophoridae (Lepidoptera). Pacific Insects 5(4): 849-871. 1963
[2] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998

Hyposmocoma eliai Schmitz & Rubinoff

Elia’s Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma eliai)

This species was described in the year 2011, it is so far known only from the type locality near the Nawiliwili bay in the southeast of the island of Kaua’i.

It is one of the smallest species of its genus, males have a wingspan of only about 0,45 to 0,5 cm. The color of the forewings is blackish, except for three disconnected white stripes on each of the wings, and some dark grey scales, the hindwings are completely grey in color.

The larvae live on large barren volcanic rocks along the shoreline, which regularly getting sprayed with salty sea water. They build a bag-shaped, about 0,4 cm long larval case, made of fine sand interwoven with silk.

They obviously feed on algae. [1]



[1] Patrick Schmitz; Daniel Rubinoff: Ecologically and Morphologically Remarkable New Cosmet Moth Species of the Genus Hyposmocoma (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, with Reference to the Spectacular Diversity of Larval Cases. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104(1): 1-15. 2011


edited: 01.03.2016