Category Archives: 5. extinct/possibly extinct

Cyperus neokunthianus Kük.

Cyperus neokunthianus

Distribution:

Hawai’i Islands: Maui (ex)

local names: –

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.

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References:

[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.

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References:

[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

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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

http://www.sil.si.edu

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.

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References:

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

Minidonta extraria Cooke & Solem

Strange Disc Snail (Minidonta extraria)

This species was described in the year 1976 from three specimens, of which one was found on the island of Akamaru, one on the island of Mangareva, and one on the island of Taravai.

The shells reach an average size of 0,29 cm in diameter.

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

Endodonta apiculata Ancey

Pointed Disc Snail (Endodonta apiculata)

The Pointed Disc Snail, which was restricted to the island of Kaua’i, Hawaiian Islands, was described in the year 1889.

The shells of this species reached an average size of 0,6 cm in diameter. [1]

~~~

The genus Endodonta contains a little more than 10 species, all, except probably for one, are now obviously extinct.

The destruction of large areas of the native lowland habitats led to their extinction, and introduced invasive species, especially several aggressive ant species (for example the Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) or the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger))) are a very serious threat to the last remaining endemic snail species, and are blamed for the extinction of many island endemic species. [2]

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Norine W. Yeung; Kenneth A. Hayes: Update on the status of the remaining Hawaiian land snail species Part 4: Punctidae and Endodontidae. 2016

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edited: 23.03.2017

Pomarea gambieranus (Lesson)

Mangarevan Flycatcher (Pomarea gambieranus)

This very enigmatic bird was found in the year 1840 on the island of Mangareva, the largest of the Gambier Islands, and was described in the year 1844 as Lanius gambieranus.

The sole known specimen does not exist anymore, as does the only depiction of this specimen. The description is not very meaningful, the bird had a size of 14 cm, was brown on the upper side, yellowish colored on the underside.

~~~

In my opinion, it is quite possible that this is indeed a monarch flycatcher species, possibly from the genus Pomarea or alternatively from another, yet completely distinct, now extinct genus.

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References:

[1] J.-C. Thibault; A. Cibois: From early Polynesian settlements to present: bird extinctions in the Gambier Islands. Pacific Science 66(3): 1-26. 2011

Cyrtandra campanulata Reinecke

Cyrtandra campanulata

Distribution:

Samoa: Savai’i, ‘Upolu

local names: –

~~~

This species may be extinct, it was last collected in 1905. [1]

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References:

[1] Art Whistler: Biodiversity Conservation Lessons Learned Technical Series. 2: The Rare Plants of Samoa. Conservation International 2011

Ischnura haemastigma Fraser

Bloodstain Forktail (Ischnura haemastigma)

This species was described in the year 1927 on the basis of a single male specimen, which was collected in the center of the island of ‘Upolu, at an elevation of about 610 m.

The head is mainly bright lemon yellow colored. The thorax is also lemon yellow colored and marked with black, the abdomen is dirty black in color, the last three segments are marked with blue. The legs are bright blood red in color.

The Bloodstain Forktail reaches a wingspan of about 3 cm, the wings are transparent, the pterostigma (wing mark) of the forewings is nearly square-shaped and crimson in color.

The first female specimen of this species were described in the year 1953. [1][2]

~~~

The status of the Bloodstain Forktail, like those of almost all endemic Samoan Dragonflies, is completely unknown, it was not recorded during recent field surveys and may in fact be extinct. [3]

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References:

[1] F. C. Fraser: Further notes on Samoan Odonata belonging to the ischnurine complex of species, with descriptions of two new species and some unknown females. Proceedings Royal Entomological Society London. Series B 22(7/8): 119-126. 1953
[2] M. Marinov; W. Chin; E. Edwards; B. Patrick; H. 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
[3] 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

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 28.06.2017

Anceyodonta andersoni Cooke & Solem

Anderson’s Disc Snail (Anceyodonta andersoni)

Anderson’s Disc Snail was described in the year 1976.

The species was originally known only based on specimens that had been collected in 1934 on the island of Mangareva, but was subsequently (in 2000) recorded in form of subfossil shells from Taravai, Mangareva’s neighbor island, as well.

The shells of the species reached an average size of 0,29 to 0,36 cm in diameter.

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

Partula lutea (Lesson)

Yellow Tree Snail (Partula lutea)

This variably colored species was described in the year 1831.

The species was endemic to the island of Bora Bora, Society Islands, where it was the only member of its genus, and where it was still numerously found in the 19th century on the stems, branches, and leaves of the native vegetation.

The shells reached a height of nearly 2 cm and was usually pale yellowish to light brown with the apex being of the same color or slightly darker.

The Yellow Tree-Snail is now extinct. [1]

~~~

The same species was introduced to the island of Maupiti sometimes after 1929, from where it is known, however, only from subfossil shells, found and photographed in 2010, 2012 and 2017 by J.-F. Butaud, J. Gerlach and others.

The species is extinct on Maupiti as well. [1][2]

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References:

[1] Justin Gerlach: Icons of Evolution: Pacific Island tree-snails, family Partulida, Phelsuma Press, Cambridge U.K. 2016
[2] Justin Gerlach: Partula survival in 2017, a survey of the Society Islands

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Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 20, Caecilioides, Clessula and Partulidae. Index to Vols. 16-20. 1909-1910’

(public domain)

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edited: 31.08.2017

Allodessus skottsbergi (Zimmermann)

Skottsberg’s Diving Beetle (Allodessus skottsbergi)

Distribution:

Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui

local names: –

***

Skottsberg’s Diving Beetle was described in 1924, it is known only from the island of Rapa Nui.

The species reaches a body length of about 0,2 to 0,23 cm and is yellowish to ferruginous colored, males and females are superficially identical.

The beetle inhabits the crater lakes of Rapa Nui, where it lives among algae, it is a predacious species. [1][2]

***

The beetle is known already from subfossil core samples, where its remains can be found at a depth of about 15,5 m, in sediments that were deposited before the first Polynesian settlers appeared, which means that the species indeed is at least native to Rapa Nui, perhaps even endemic. [4]

***

Skottsberg’s Diving Beetle was apparently not recorded during recent field studies and may in fact already join the list of extinct species. [3]

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References:

[1] A. Zimmermann: Coeloptera-Dytiscidae von Juan Fernandez und der Osterinsel. in The Natural history of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island, edited by Carl Skottsberg. Vol. 3: 299-304., Zoology. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri, 1921-1940
[2] Michael Balke; Ignacio Ribera: Jumping across Wallace’s line: Allodessus Guignot and Limbodessus Guignot revisited (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae, Bidessini) based on molecular-phylogenetic and morphological data. Australian Journal of Entomology 43(2): 114-128. 2004
[3] Konjev Desender; Léon Baert: The Coleoptera of Easter Island. Bulletin de l’Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique. Entomologie 66: 27-50.1996
[4] M. Horrocks; M. Marra; W. T. Baisden; J. Flenley; D. Feek; L. González Nualart; S. Haoa-Cardinali; T. Edmunds Gorman: Pollen, phytoliths, arthropods and high-resolution 14C sampling from Rano Kau, Easter Island: evidence for late Quaternary environments, ant (Formicidae) distributions and human activity. Journal of Paleolimnology 50(4): 417-432. 2013

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edited: 23.06.2017, 11.12.2018

Leptogryllus deceptor Perkins

Oahu Deceptor Bush Cricket (Leptogryllus deceptor)

This rather enigmatic species was described in the year 1910 from the island of O’ahu, Hawaiian Islands.

The whole genus seems to be only barely known and little investigated. But it is known, that related species (Leptogryllus fusconotatus Perkins from O’ahu, Leptogryllus nigrolineatus (Perkins) from Maui) live at the leaf bases of leaves of the ‘ie ‘ie liana (Freycinetia arborea Gaudich.). Several other species then again seem to be inhabitants of the leaf litter of the forest floor.

~~~

In the official international Red List the species is considered extinct in the wild. Its name can be found furthermore in the Internet in several lists, which deal with animals that are extinct in the wild, but are kept in zoos for species conservation. Most often these lists are copies of copies of copies of ….

However at least in the case of the Oahu Deceptor Bush Cricket this seems to be an error. This species is obviously not kept in any zoo and therefore must indeed be regarded as truly extinct. (pers. comm. P. Maas & Ph. D. K. C. Zippel (Amphibian Program Officer of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG)))

Pteropus coxi Helgen, Helgen, & Wilson

Cox’s Flying Fox (Pteropus coxi)

This fascinating species was described in the year 2009 from two skulls, which originate from two specimens, which had been shot during the ‘U.S. Exploring Expedition’ in the years 1838 to 1842 in Samoa.

The remaining bones and the skins of these two individuals are now unfortunately unlocatable. [2]

~~~

The Large Samoa Flying Fox has obviously survived into the 1980th years, as can be extracted from an eyewitness account of the Ethnobotanist Dr. Paul Alan Cox.:

I will never forget the first time I saw one of these giant bats in the rainforest. One day, while climbing a tree, I saw what appeared to be an eagle flying away from a liana flower. The bat I saw in my field glasses appeared to have a wingspan of five feet [1,5 m] or more and lacked the white fur on the back of the neck that characterizes the locally common flying fox, P. tonganus. This large bat was black and its behavior was completely unusual. I later thoroughly enjoyed watching them soar, eagle-like, high above the forest in midday sun.” [1]

~~~

The natives of the Samoan Islands have always hunted flying foxes for food purposes, and they still do so today.

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References:

[1] Paul A. Cox: Flying Fox nearly extinct in Samoa. Bats Magazine 1(4). 1984
[2] Kristofer M. Helgen; Lauren E. Helgen; Don E. Wilson: Pacific flying foxes (Mammalia: Chiroptera): Two new species of Pteropus from Samoa, probably extinct. American Museum Novitates 3646: 1-37. 2009

Mautodontha consobrina (Garrett)

Huahine Mautodontha Snail (Mautodontha consobrina)

This species, which comes from the island of Huahine, was described in the year 1884.

The shells reach an average size of 0,38 cm in diameter.

Andrew J. Garrett, the species’ author writes in the year 1884.:

Rare and peculiar to one valley.

This statement is all, that is known about this now extinct species, of which obviously only seven museum specimens are in existence.

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References:

[1] Andrew J. Garrett: The terrestrial Mollusca inhabiting the Society Islands”. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 2nd series 9: 17-114. 1884
[2] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976

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mautodontha-consobrina-mc

Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 3, Helicidae Vol. 1. 1887’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Partula fusca Pease

Brown Tree-Snail (Partula fusca)

The Brown Tree-Snail, whose shells were not always brown colored, but were as variable as the shells of most tree-snails, was endemic to the island of Ra’iatea.

The species was obviously not a tree dweller but terrestrial.

The Brown Tree-Snail, like most of its relatives from the island of Ra’iatea, died out at the end of the 20th century.

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partula-fusca-mc

Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 20, Caecilioides, Clessula and Partulidae. Index to Vols. 16-20. 1909-1910’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Pomarea fluxa Murphy & Mathews

Eiao Flycatcher (Pomarea fluxa)

The Central Polynesian flycatcher species are all restricted to native forests, they inhabit small territories, which they aggressively defend against congeners, including their own offspring.

All these species lay only a single egg, which, of course, is very vulnerable to predation by introduced rats.

The few still existing species are all close to extinction, and perhaps many species are already extinct without leaving even a single trace of their former existence! The islands of Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, and Rarotonga in the Cook Archipelago for example, as well as Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti, and Taha’a in the Society Archipelago may once all have had local species of the genus Pomarea, yet only three of them are definitively known!

~~~

This species, the Eiao Flycatcher, as its name implies, inhabited the island of Eiao in the north of the Marquesas Archipelago. It was described in the year 1928, and was considered a subspecies of the Iphis Flycatcher (Pomarea iphis (Murphy & Mathews)) from the island of Ua Huka for a long time, which, in a geographical context, makes not much sense.

The bird reached a size of about 17 cm, the sexes differed in their coloration, the males had a black head and neck and black wings, the back and the throat were mottled black and white, while the females were brownish above and whitish below, with the throat heavily streaked brown.

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References:

[1] 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

Alopecoenas nui (Steadman)

Giant Ground Dove (Alopecoenas nui)

The Giant Ground Dove is known only from subfossil bones which were found on the islands of Mangaia, Cook Islands; Kamaka, Gambier Islands; Hiva Oa, Tahuata and Ua Huka, Marquesas as well as Huahine, Society Islands.

The species was sympatric on the Cook-, Gambier- and Society Islands with the smaller Polynesian Ground Dove (Alopecoenas erythroptera (Gmelin)) and on the Marquesan Islands with the Marquesas Ground Dove (Alopecoenas rubescens (Vieillot)), and perhaps with additional, yet extinct species.

The Giant Ground Dove was no true giant, but was still larger than all its Polynesian congeners, reaching a size of about 36 cm.

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References:

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006
[2] Jean-Claude Thibault; Alice Cibois: From early Polynesian settlements to present: bird extinctions in the Gambier Islands. Pacific Science 66(3): 1-26. 2011
[3] Knud A. Jønsson; Martin Irestedt; Rauri C. K. Bowie; Les Christidis; Jon Fieldså: Systematics and biogeography of Indo-Pacific ground-doves. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 538-543. 2011

Partula auriculata Broderip

Ear-shaped Tree-Snail (Partula auriculata)

This species was decsribed in the year 1832.

The Ear-shaped Tree-Snail was an endemic species of the island of Ra’iatea and disappeared shortly after the introduction of the Rosy Wolfsnail (Euglandina rosea (Férussac)) to the island. In the year 1992, when the species was seen for the last time, only a few individuals were left.

The species was not found during field surveys in the years 1994 and 2000, nor during any other subsequent survey, and therefore is considered extinct now.

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partula-auriculata-mc

Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 20, Caecilioides, Clessula and Partulidae. Index to Vols. 16-20. 1909-1910’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Minidonta aroa Brook

Aroa Minidonta Snail (Minidonta aroa)

This species was described in the year 2010 from subfossil shells that were found in the sandy soil of the coastal plains between the villages of Aro’a and Arorangi on the southwest coast of the island of Rarotonga.

The shells reach an average size of 0,25 to 0,3 cm in diameter.

~~~

The species, which obviously was restricted to lowland areas, died out most probably already shortly after the colonization of the island by Polynesians.

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References:

[1] F. J. Brook: Coastal landsnail fauna of Rarotonga, Cook Islands: systematics, diversity, biogeography, faunal history, and environmental influences. Tuhinga 21: 161-252. 2010

Anceyodonta ganhutuensis Cooke & Solem

Gahutu Disc Snail (Anceyodonta ganhutuensis)

The Gahutu Disc Snail was described in the year 1976 based on subfossil shells, which had been found near the Gahutu Bay (not Ganhutu!) on the island of Mangareva, shells of this species were subsequently found on the island of Taravai as well.

The shells of this species reach an average size of 0,17 to 0,22 cm in diameter.

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

Taipidon octolamellata (Garrett)

Eight-grooved Taipidion Snail (Taipidon octolamellata)

This species comes from the island of Hiva Oa, it was described in the year 1887, and obviously died out shortly after.

~~~

Obviously, there is only a single voucher specimen left today, a shell with a size of about 0,4 cm in diameter.

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part II, Families Punctidae and Charopidae, Zoogeography. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1983

Megavitiornis altirostris Worthy

Deep-billed ‘Megapode’ (Megavitiornis altirostris)

This enigmatic extinct species, described in 2000 from subfossil remains, is in fact not a megapode but a member of a not well known family, the Sylviornitidae, whose only other member is the likewise enigmatic and extinct New Caledonian Giant ‘Megapode’ (Sylviornis neocaledoniae Poplin) from New Caledonia.

The Deep-billed ‘Megapode’ was a large, flightless bird, that probably fed particularely on plants and invertebrates, and is so far known only from the island of Viti Levu, Fiji.

The species of course was a very rewarding target for the first human settlers and hunters on the Fijian Islands, and thus was very fast wiped out by them. [1][2]

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References:

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006
[2] Trevor H. Worthy; Miyess Mitri; Warren D. Handley; Michael S. Y. Lee; Atholl Anderson; Christophe Sand: Osteology supports a stem-galliform affinity for the giant extinct flightless bird Sylviornis neocaledoniae (Sylviornithidae, Galloanseres). PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150871. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150871. 2016

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edited: 22.04.2016

Minidonta matavera Brook

Matavera Minidonta Snail (Minidonta matavera)

The Matavera Minidonta Snail from the island of Rarotonga was described in the year 2010.

This species is known only from empty shells, some of which are in a subfossil condition, while others appear relatively fresh, suggesting a relatively recent extinction date.

The shells reached a height of about 0,25 cm. [1]

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References:

[1] Fred J. Brook: Coastal landsnail fauna of Rarotonga, Cook Islands: systematics, diversity, biogeography, faunal history, and environmental influences. Tuhinga 21: 161-252. 2010

Anceyodonta gatavakensis Abdou & Bouchet

Gatavake Disc Snail (Anceyodonta gatavakensis)

This species was described in the year 2000.

The Gatavake Disc Snail is known only from subfossil shells, which hed been found near the village of Gatavake at the northwest coast of the island of Mangareva.

The somewhat dome-shaped shells reached an average size of 0,22 cm in diameter. [1]

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References:

[1] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

Charmosyna amabilis (Ramsay)

Red-throated Lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis)

This small, mainly green colored bird is deemed to be the rarest parrot of the Fiji Islands, where it formerly inhabited the islands of Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, and Viti Levu.

The bird reached a size of 18 cm, its biology is virtually unknown, the same applies for its breeding behavior, the size of the clutch and similar data.

The Red-throated Lorikeet is, resp. was known to the natives of the Fijian islands by several names, including Mihi (?), Kula, Kulawai, and Talaki ni medra wai na kula.

The species was last found only in the higher regions at Mt. Tomanivi on the island of Viti Levu, the largest of the Fijian Islands, where it was last recorded in the year 1993.

The Red-throated Lorikeet is now most probably extinct.

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References:

[1] E. L. Layard: Notes on the Birds of the Navigators’ and Friendly Islands, with some Additions to the Ornithology of Fiji. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 490-506. 1876
[2] H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner, Delwyn G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987
[3] Tony Juniper; Mike Parr: Parrots; A Guide to Parrots of the World. Yale University Press 1998
[4] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006

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charmosyna-amabilis-gdr-om

Depiction from: ‘G. D. Rowley: The Birds of the Fiji Islands. Ornithological Miscellany 1: 259-262. 1876’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Ischnura chromostigma Fraser

Color Spot Forktail (Ischnura chromostigma)

This species was described in the year 1927 on the basis of four males and five females that all had been collected on the island of Tutuila.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 4 cm.

~~~

The Color Spot Forktail may be most closely related to Armstrong’s Slender Damselfly (Amorphostigma armstrongi Fraser), and thus doesn’t belong into the genus Ischnura. [2]

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References:

[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

Samoana jackieburchi Kondo

Jackie Burch’s Samoana Tree-Snail (Samoana jackieburchi)

This species was described in the year 1980 and is considered extinct since.

The Rosy Wolfsnail (Euglandina rosea (Férussac)), which was introduced to Tahiti in 1977, is blamed for the extinction of this and several other snail species.

The shells of this species are exclusively sinistral (twisted leftward).

~~~

Jackie Burch’s Samoana Tree-Snail, whose taxonomy is somewhat disputed, appears superficially almost identical to a specific subspecies of the Tahitian Tree-Snail, the Reddish Tahitian Tree-Snail (Partula otaheitana ssp. rubescens Reeve), and thus is sometimes (incorrectly) synonymized with it.

~~~

Another species from the island of Tahiti that was also believed to be extinct , Burch’s Samoana Tree-Snail (Samoana burchi Kondo), was rediscovered in the year 2005 (?).

*********************

References:

[1] Y. Kondo: Samoana jackieburchi, new species (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Partulidae). Malacological Review 2: 25-32. 1980
[2] Trevor Coote: Pacific Island Land Snails; Tahiti becomes the focus of Partula conservation. Tentacle 20: 28-30. 2012

*********************

edited: 05.10.2016

Drosophila alsophila Hardy & Kaneshiro

Banded Picturewing Fly (Drosophila alsophila)

The Banded Picturewing Fly is believed to be extinct, it is known from two localities at the Hualalai volcano on the island of Hawai’i and was always rare.

The flies placed their eggs on the woody stems of plants of the genera Charpentiera and Urera, on whose decaying bark their larvae fed.

An exact extinction date cannot be given.

*********************

edited: 05.10.2016

Geograpsus severnsi Paulay & Starmer

Hawaiian Land Crab (Geograpsus severnsi)

This species was scientifically described in the year 2011.

Subfossil remains of land crabs have been found on the major Hawaiian Islands for many years, but their identity was not clear. Researchers identified the crab as a new species by comparing physical characteristics with specimens from various collections.

The Hawaiian Land Crab is now known to have occured on all of the larger islands in the Hawaiian chain. The species reached a carapace size of about 6 cm and was therefore probably the largest in its genus.

The Hawaiian land crab species vanished at about 1000 A.D., shortly after the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers resp. of the new animals that the Polynesians brought to the islands (chickens, dogs, pigs and rats).

*********************

References:

[1] Gustav Paulay; John Starmer: Evolution, Insular Restriction, and Extinction of Oceanic Land Crabs, Exemplified by the Loss of an Endemic Geograpsus in the Hawaiian Islands. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(5): e19916 DOI

Partula cuneata Crampton

Wedge-shaped Tree-Snail (Partula cuneata)

The Wedge-shaped Tree-Snail was described in the year 1956.

The species was endemic to the island of Ra’iatea, where it was restricted to the Ereeo Valley on the west coast of the island, which it shared with five additional tree-snail species – all of these species are now extinct.

*********************

References:

[1] Henry E. Crampton: New Species of Land Snails of the Genus Partula from Raiatea, Society Islands. American Museum Novitates 1761: 1-17. 1956

Mautodontha maupiensis (Garrett)

Maupiti Disc Snail (Mautodontha maupiensis)

This species from the island of Maupiti was described in the year 1884.

The shells reach an average size of 0,3 cm in diameter. [2]

~~~

Andrew J. Garrett, the species’ author, writes in the year 1884.:

“Very common, and confined to the small island of Maupiti.”

Thus, the Maupiti Disc Snail, of which today twenty-one museum specimens are still in existence, must still have been very common in the 19th century, but died out shortly after. [1][2]

*********************

References:

[1] Andrew J. Garrett: The terrestrial Mollusca inhabiting the Society Islands”. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 2nd series 9: 17-114. 1884
[2] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976

*********************

mautodontha.maupiensis.mc

Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 3, Helicidae Vol. 1. 1887’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Drosophila molokaiensis Grimshaw

Molokai Picturewing (Drosophila molokaiensis)

This species from the island of Moloka’i (?) is known only on the basis of the type specimen, which lacks the head, and which cannot be assigned to any of the species groups within the genus.

*********************

References:

[1] Karl N. Magnacca; Patrick M. O’Grady: New combinations in Hawaiian Drosophila and Scaptomyza (Diptera: Drosophilidae): zootaxa 1926: 53-60. 2008

Graeffedon graeffei (Mousson)

Gräffe’s Graeffedon Snail (Graeffedon graeffei)

This species from the Samoan island of ‘Upolu, which is known only from a handful specimens, was described in the year 1869.

The shells reach an average size of 0,46 to 0,59 cm in diameter.

Gräffe’s Graeffedon Snail inhabited the leaf litter of the rainforests, where it easily felt victim to introduced rats, and more so to the likewise introduced Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes F. Smith).

The last specimen was collected in the year 1965.

*********************

References:
[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part II, Families Punctidae and Charopidae, Zoogeography. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1983
[2] Robert H. Cowie; A. C. Robinson: The decline of native Pacific island faunas: changes in status of the land snails of Samoa through the 20th century. Biological Conservation 110: 55-65. 2003

*********************

graeffedon-graeffei-mc

Depiction from: ”G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 3, Helicidae Vol. 1. 1887′

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Anceyodonta alternata Cooke & Solem

Mangarevan Disc Snail (Anceyodonta alternata)

This species was described in the year 1976 from shells that were collected in the north part of Rikitea, the main settlement on the island of Mangareva.

The shells reach an average size of about 0,22 cm in diameter.

*********************

References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

Chroicocephalus utunui (Steadman)

Polynesian Gull (Chroicocephalus utunui)

This species was described in the year 2002 on the basis of very good preserved bones, which were found on the island of Huahine.

The species was certainly once distributed through the whole Society Archipelago.

The next relatives are the Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae (Stephens)) from Australia as well as the Black-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus bulleri (Hutton)), and the Red-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus scopulinus (J. R. Forster)) from New Zealand.

~~~

The species disappeared about 700 to 1200 A.D., thus shortly after the colonization of the island by Polynesians – resp., if one will trust very vague hints in a travel account from the year 1834, maybe actually as recently as during the middle of the 19th century.

~~~

Quite interesting in this context is the description of two gull species (Gavia pomarre Bruch in the year 1853 and Gavia pomare Bruch in the year 1855), which are supposed to come from the Society Islands, but which later (1887 and 1896) were identified as a juvenile Silver Gull and a juvenile Black-billed Gull, respectively.

The original material was lost during the World War II, and only drawings of the primaries and the heads (see depiction) are left.

*********************

References:

[1] F. Debell Bennett: Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the globe, from the year 1833 to 1836. Comprising Sketches of Polynesia, California, the Indian Archipelago, etc. with an account of southern whales, the sperm whale fishery, and the natural history of the climates visited. London, Richard Bentley 1840
[2] D. W. Steadman: A New Species Of Gull (Laridae: Larus) From An Archaeological Site On Huahine, Society Islands. Proceedings of The Biological Society of Washington Band 115: 1–17. 2002
[3] D. W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006

*********************

larus-pomarre-jo

the enigmatic species Gavia pomarre or Larus pomarre

Depiction from: ‘C. F. Bruch: Monographische Uebersicht der Gattung Larus Lin. Journal für Ornithologie. 1(2): 96-108. 1853’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Aplonis ulietensis (Gmelin)

Ulieta Starling (Aplonis ulietensis)

The Ulieta Starling, better known as Bay Thrush or Ulieta Thrush, is still one of the biggest mysteries of the ornithological world.

The species is known only on the basis of a drawing which was produced by Georg Forster in 1774 (?), as well as from the appertaining description.

The bird was originally – under reserve – described as thrush (Turdidae), but was subsequently associated with the Honeyeater family (Meliphagidae).

Actually, it may have been a starling, because very similar starling species are well known to occur / have occurred on other, adjacent islands within Central Polynesia (only a single species, the Rarotonga Starling (Aplonis cinerascens Hartlaub & Finsch), is extant), while the other two bird families are not known from that geographical region, neither from historical specimens nor by subfossil remains.

~~~

The Ulieta Starling died out sometimes during the 18th century – or – did it survive until the 19th century?

“Some of the land birds which inhabit the more interior and elevated woods have a varied and gaudy plumage; while others, with a more sombre garment, possess a melodious voice, not unlike that of our thrush or blackbird; but neither kind is sufficiently numerous to repay the exertions of the sportsman or ornithologist.”

from: ‘Frederick Debell Bennett: Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the globe, from the year 1833 to 1836.’

*********************

References:

[1] Frederick Debell Bennett: Narrative of a Whaling Voyage round the globe, from the year 1833 to 1836. Comprising Sketches of Polynesia, California, the Indian Archipelago, etc. with an account of southern whales, the sperm whale fishery, and the natural history of the climates visited. London, Richard Bentley 1840
[2] Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
[3] Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987

*********************

aplonis-ulietensis-forster

Depiction: Georg Forster, 1774

(This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.)

Minidonta iota Brook

Dwarfed Minidonta Snail (Minidonta iota)

This species was described in the year 2010 from very few, badly preserved subfossil shells, which were found in the sandy soil of the coastal plain near the village of Aro’a on the southwest coast of the island of Rarotonga.

The shells of this species reached an average size of 0,13 to 0,15 cm in diameter, which makes it the smallest of all known Endodontidae species at all.

*********************

References:

[1] Fred J. Brook: Coastal landsnail fauna of Rarotonga, Cook Islands: systematics, diversity, biogeography, faunal history, and environmental influences. Tuhinga 21: 161-252. 2010

Atropis rarotongana Brook

Rarotongan Atropis Snail (Atropis rarotongana)

This species was described in the year 2010 on the basis of subfossil shells, which were found in the years 2005 to 2007 on several beach areas on the island of Rarotonga.

Some of these shells, which were found in the coral rubble at the ground of a small grove of Fish Poison Trees (Barringtonia asiatica (L.) Kurz) at Matavera in the east part of the island, where empty but, however, appeared relatively fresh, and the author (Fred J. Brook) in its species description assumes that this species may have survived at least until this time (2005 – 2007).

Because of the omnipresent rats (three species occur on Rarotonga: Rattus exulans (Peale), Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout), Rattus rattus (L.)), a survival of this species, however, is very unlikely.

*********************

References:

[1] Fred J. Brook: Coastal landsnail fauna of Rarotonga, Cook Islands: systematics, diversity, biogeography, faunal history, and environmental influences. Tuhinga 21: 161-252. 2010

Aukena tridentata (B. Baker)

Three-toothed Aukena Hive Snail (Aukena tridentata)

The Three-toothed Aukena Hive Snail was described in the year 1940 based on empty shells that had been collected in the year 1934 during the ‘Mangarevan Expedition’ on the islands of Aukena and Mangareva.

The shells reach an average size of 0,55 cm in diameter.

The shells were found in the sandy soil of small coastal plains, that are now completely modified for small-scale agriculture. [1][2]

*********************

References:

[1] H. Burrington Baker: Zonitid snails from Pacific Islands: Hawaiian genera of Microcystinae. Bishop Museum Bulletins 165 : 105-201. 1940
[2] Philippe Bouchet; Ahmed Abdou: Recent Extinct Land Snails (Euconulidae) from the Gambier Islands with Remarkable Apertural Barriers. Pacific Science 55(2): 121-127. 2001

Gallirallus huiatua Steadman, Worthy, Anderson & Walter

Niue Rail (Gallirallus huiatua)

This species was described in the year 2000 on the basis of subfossil bone remains.

The Niue Rail was slightly smaller than the Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis ssp. goodsoni Mathews), which still inhabits Niue, but unlike the Buff-banded Rail, the Niue Rail was flightless.

The species was extirpated by the Polynesian inhabitans of the island at around 1500 A.D..

*********************

References:

[1] David W. Steadman, Trevor H. Worthy, Atholl J. Anderson, Richard Walter: New species and records of birds from prehistoric sites on Niue, Southwest Pacific. The Wilson Bulletin 112(2): 165-186. 2000
[2] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006

Partula rustica Pease

Rustic Tree-Snail (Partula rustica)

This species comes from the island of Ra’iatea, and was obviously restricted to a single valley at the west coast of the island, where the animals were found under decaying plant material.

The Rustic Raiatea Tree-Snail is now, like most of its relatives from the island of Ra’iatea, considered extirpated.

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partula-rustica-mc

Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 20, Caecilioides, Clessula and Partulidae. Index to Vols. 16-20. 1909-1910’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Antiponemertes allisonae (Moore)

Menzies Bay Terrestrial Ribbon Worm (Antiponemertes allisonae)

This species is a terrestrial, about 1 cm long and 0,1 cm wide nemertine worm with a mottled brown upside and relative large eyes.

This ribbon worm was obviously always confined to a single place, Menzies Bay on the Banks Peninsula. There the worm could be found under fallen logs and treeferns, in places that would have to be not to damp but also not to dry.

The former habitat of this species is now largely destroyed due to shrub clearance but also by intensive grazing by, in New Zealand omnipresent, sheep as well as by introduced deer.

Searches, last in the year 1988, ended without any results.

Partula callifera Pfeiffer

Callus-carrying Tree-Snail (Partula callifera)

This species was described in the year 1856.

The Callus-carrying Tree-Snail occurred in the higher parts of the Haamoa valley in the east of the island of Ra’iatea, where it formerly was found quite commonly, sitting on the foliage of the native vegetation.

The shells reached a heigth of 1,7 to 2,1 cm.

The species died out for the same reasons as all of the other extinct Polynesian tree-snail species.

Oligosoma gracilicorpus (Hardy)

Narrow-bodied Skink (Oligosoma gracilicorpus)

This species, described in the year 1977, is known only from the type specimen, which was collected on New Zealand’s North Island.

The species is considered extinct.

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References:

[1] D. R. Towns, K. A. Neilson; A. H. (Tony) Whitaker: North Island Oligosoma spp. skink recovery plan 2002-2012. Threatened species recovery plan 48. New Zealand Department of Conservation 2002

Hibiscadelphus woodii Lorence & W. L. Wagner

Hibiscadelphus woodii

Distribution:

Hawai’i Islands: Kaua’i

local names:

hau kuahiwi – Hawai’i Islands

~~~

This species grew in the Kalalau Valley on the island of Kaua’i, where it was first discovered only in the year 1991 – at that time only four individuals were alive.

All attempts, to propagate these plants vegetatively in some way (by air layering, grafting or cuttings) failed.

The remaining shrubs indeed bloomed, and the  flowers were even visited by endemic, nectarivorous drepanid finches (Kauai Amakihi (Hemignathus kauaiensis Pratt)), but seed development was never observed.

~~~

The demise of the species was initiated by a large fallen boulder, which injured three of the last four individuals in such a way, that they, until 1998, died back completely.

The only remaining shrub was found on the 17 August 2011 to be dead as well.

*********************

References:

[1] D. H. Lorence & W. L. Wagner: Another new, nearly extinct species of Hibiscadelphus (Malvaceae) from the Hawaiian Islands. Novon 5: 183-187. 1995
[2] Kenneth R. Wood: Possible Extinctions, Rediscoveries, and New Plant Records within the Hawaiian Islands. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2011. Edited by Neal L. Evenhuis & Lucius G. Eldredge. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 113: 91-102. 2012

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edited:

10.10.2016

Endodonta rugata (Pease)

Wrinkled Disc Snail (Endodonta rugata)

The Wrinkled Disc Snail, which occurred on the island of Maui, was described in the year 1866.

The shells of this species reach a size of about 0,5 cm in diameter.

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976

Carelia pilsbryi Sykes

Pilsbry’s Carelia (Carelia pislbryi)

This species was described in the year 1909 on the basis of subfossil shells, which had been found on the Kaakaaniu- and the Kalihikai beaches on the island of Kaua’i.

The shells reached a height of up to 8,5 cm.

~~~

Pilsby’s Carelia obviously inhabited lowland regions, and thus was one of the first species that felt victim to the Polynesian Rats (Rattus exulans (Peale)), which had been introduced by the Polynesian settlers.

~~~

Another subspecies, the Tsunami Carelia (Carelia pilsbryi ssp. tsunami Cooke & Kondo), was described in the year 1952 from numerous subfossil shells, which had been uncovered at April 1, 1946 by far-ranging tidal waves on the Lepeuli beach on the island of Kaua’i, but of which, however, not a single one was intact.

This form differs from the nominate race, among other things, by its more compact embryonic whorls, and by its spiral striation pattern.

*********************

References:

[1] C. Montague Cooke, Jr.; Yoshio Kondo: New fossil forms of Carelia and Partulina (Pulmonata) from Hawaiian Islands. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 20(20): 329-346. 1952

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carelia-p-pilsbryi-mc

nominate race

Depiction from: ‘G. W. Tryon; H. A. Pilsbry: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Vol 21: Achatinellidae (Amastrinae) 1911’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Orsonwelles torosus (Simon)

Waimea Sheet Weaver (Orsonwelles torosus)

The Waimea Sheet Weaver is known only from a single, female specimen, that was collected in the 1890’s years by the famous R. C. L. Perkins, a British entomologist, noted for his work on the invertebrate fauna of the Hawaiian Islands.

This sole specimen is labelled only with the place name ‘Waimea’, a name that can be found on several of the Hawaiian Islands, however, it is very likely that the spider came from the Waimea region on the island of Kaua’i.

The Waimea Sheet Weaver was never found again, and is now considered most likely extinct.

~~~

Specimens, that were collected on the neighbor islands of Hawai’i, Maui, Moloka’i, and O’ahu, and which formerly were assigned to this species, were subsequently recognized and described as distinct species.

*********************

References:

[1] Gustavo Hormiga: Orsonwelles, a new genus of giant linyphiid spiders (Araneae) from the Hawaiian Islands. Invertebrate Systematics 16. 369-448. 2002

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orsonwelles-torosus-fh

Depiction from: ‘Fauna Hawaiiensis; being the Land-Fauna of the Hawaiian Islands. by various Authors, 1899-1913. Cambridge [Eng.]: The University Press 1913’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org