Nesolyncides io Fennah

Io Delphacid (Nesolyncides io)

This species, the only one in its genus, was described in the year 1958 on the basis of material, which was collected in 1934 by the entomologist Elwood C. Zimmerman on the island of Mangareva.

The Io Delphacid is very probably one of the few, at least historically known, endemic species of the island, however, whether the species is still extant is not known to me. [1]

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References:

[1] R. G. Fennah: Fulgoroidea of south-eastern Polynesia. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 110(6): 117–220. 1958

Ocypode ceratophthalma (Pallas)

Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalma)

The Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific, where it occurs from the coasts of East Africa far into Polynesia, where the animals run about the beaches in search for edible things, including washed up dead fish, or dead sea birds, but also newly hatched sea turtles.

It is a quite large species with a carapace size of up to 8 cm in diameter. It can be distinguished from other related crabs by the eyestalks extending beyond the eyes into long points, those stalks are longer in males, and shorter or almost absent in females.

In Samoa, the species is called avi’ivi’i resp. pa’a.

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ocypode-ceratophthalma-jp

Photo: J. Poupin; by courtesy of J. Poupin

http://decpoda.ecole-navale.fr/index.php
http://decapoda.free.fr

Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Caesalpinia bonduc

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
Fiji: Leleuvia, Makaluva, Nasoata, Nayau, Nukuci, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Rotuma, Sawa-i-lau, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yasawa
Gambier Islands: Kamaka
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Laysan, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Marquesas: Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Savai’i, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Ata, Fafa, Foa, Niuatoputapu, Oneata, Onevai, Pangaimotu, Tongatapu

local names:

anaoso – Samoa
hihikolo – Hawai’i Islands
kakalaioa – Hawai’i Islands
soni – Vanua Levu / Fiji
tartar mann – Rotuma / Fiji

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References:

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

Pandanus tectorius Parkinson ex Du Roi

Screw Pine (Pandanus tectorius)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Dravuni, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Laucala, Mabualau, Makaluva, Matamanoa, Matuku, Moala, Monuriki, Nagigia, Namenalala, Namuka, Nananu, Nasoata, Naviti, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Qamea, Rotuma, Solkope, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatoa, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wayasewa, Yanucalailai, Yanucalevu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Makapu, Makaroa, Mangareva, Manui, Mekiro, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Flint Island, Karoraina, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Motu Nono, Motu Puuru, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fafa, Foa, Fukave, Kao, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Motutapu, Mounu, Niuatoputapu, Nuku, Oneata, Onevai, Onevao, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tafahi, Tau, Tofua, Toketoke, Tongatapu, Tufaka, ‘Uiha, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Akiaki, Anaa, Aratika, Hao, Katiu, Makatea, Makemo, Manihi, Mataiva, Morane, Mururoa, Napuka, Niau, Nukutepipi, Rangiroa, Raroia, Tahanea, Taiaro, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tatakoto, Temoe, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Vahitahi
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niulakita, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Faioa, Fenua Fo’ou, Futuna, Nukuatea, Nukuloa, Nukutapu, ‘Uvea

local names:

‘ara – Aitutaki / Cook Islands
‘ara pepe – ‘Atiu, Ma’uke / Cook Islands
‘ara-ta’atai – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
‘ara-tai – ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro / Cook Islands
balawa – Fiji
draudreka – Fiji
fa – Niue; Tonga
fa’a mei – Marquesas
fa feutu – Niue
fa fi – Niue
fa ivi – Niue
fala – Samoa
falavao – Olohega / Tokelau
fala vao – Tokelau
fara – Manihiki, Palmerston, Rakahanga / Cook Islands; Tupai / Society Islands; Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
fara moa – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara moua – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara uteute – Tahiti / Society Islands
fasa – Samoa
hala – Hawai’i Islands
hala kilipaki – Hawai’i Islands (spineless clone)
hara – Tongareva / Cook Islands
hat – Rotuma / Fiji
hata – Rotuma / Fiji
hosoa – Rotuma / Fiji
kiakia – Rotuma / Fiji
kie – Tonga (spineless clone)
lau fala – Samoa (spineless clone)
pandana – Palmerston / Cook Islands
pu hala – Hawai’I Islands
sa’aga – Rotuma / Fiji
te kaina – Kiribati
teou – Nui / Tuvalu
teto – Nui / Tuvalu
tima – Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
uea – Tupai / Society Islands
vadra – Fiji
varawa – Fiji
voivoi – Fiji
wala – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

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The Screw Pine is a geographically widespread and exceptionally morphologically variable species (or maybe a species complex). In the Polynesian region this plant is found almost everywhere, except for climatically inappropriate areas like New Zealand or Rapa Nui.

The Screw Pine was once one of the most important plants for the Polynesians, and Screw Pine saplings, together with saplings of Breadfruit Trees, Coconut Palms, Taro and several others, were transported by the Polynesian settlers on their boats during inter-island migration – to be planted out at their new island homes.

The Polynesians, over time, reared numerous cultivars, among them such whose leaves are lacking spines on their margins, and which therefore are very well-suited for weaving.

The exceptional variability of the wild and cultivated forms lead to the description of countless species, subspecies and varieties. So, Harold St. John alone described in his “Revision of the Genus Pandanus” various female plants as distinct species – in many cases from geographically very localized populations. In a biological sense, all of these ‘species’ are part of the same population, and furthermore, it is impossible to designate male plants to such ‘species’.

Some of the morphologically distinct forms that are seemingly restricted to the higher elevations of larger islands, like Pandanus papenooensis H. St. John on Tahiti or Pandanus temehaniensis J. W. Moore on Ra’iatea, are often still referred to as distinct species.

(I personally, however, see all of these forms as Pandanus tectorius.)

Nevertheless, the genus is in urgent need of a proper revision!

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As already mentioned, in virtually all parts of Polynesia the leaves were and are used for weaving, among other things, for elaborate mats, especially in Tonga, or boat sails (in former times on the Hawai’i Islands), right up to roofs and walls of houses (!). The stilt roots were used, for example, on the Cook Islands, for house building (as abutment walls) too.

The fruits are fruit heads comprising an aggregate of many tightly bunched phalanges or drupes that are edible. In some cultivars, these drupes reach the size of an apple. They are eaten especially in parts of Kiribati, Tokelau, and in Tuvalu.

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References:

[1] Sven Buerki; Martin W. Callmander; Dion S. Devey; Lauren Chappell; Timothy Gallaher; Jérôme Munzinger; Thomas Haevermans Félix Forest: Straightening out the screw-pines: A first step in understanding phylogenetic relationships within Pandanaceae. Taxon 61(5): 1010-1020. 2012
[2] Timothy Gallaher; Martin W. Gallmander; Sven Buerki; Sterling C. Keeley: A long distance dispersal hypothesis for the Pandanaceae and the origins of the Pandanus tectorius complex. Molecular Phylogenetis and Evolution 83: 20-32.2015

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pandanus-tectorius-fks

Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 13.02.2017

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

Macrobranchium lar (Fabricius)

Tahitian Prawn (Macrobranchium lar)

The Tahitian Prawn is a Indopacific species, its native area stretches from the rivers of the coastal regions of East Africa well into Central Polynesia.

The species shows some sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger than the females.

~~~

In Wallis and Futuna the species is cultivated commercially in taro fields.

~~~

On the Cook Islands the species is called koura-vai ti’aka, in Samoa all prawn species, including this one, are named ula vai.

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References:

[1] Gérard Marquet: Freshwater crustaceans of French Polynesia: taxonomy, distribution and biomass (Decapoda). Crustaceana 61(2): 125-140. 1991
[2] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006

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macrobranchium-lar-sh

Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

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

Nesofregetta fuliginosa (Gmelin)

Polynesian Storm-Petrel (Nesofregetta fuliginosa)

This species is endemic to the tropical Pacific, where it breeds from parts of Melanesia (Vanuatu) well into East Polynesia, for example on the Gambier Islands in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

From the Cook Islands and on Rapa Nui, however, it is known only from subfossil remains.

The Polynesian Storm-Petrel is an about 25 cm large seabird, of which several color morphs are known to exist, which were formerly considered to represent distinct species. A remarkably dark morph (the Samoan Storm-Petrel) seems to be restricted to Samoa.

The bird is known in Polynesia by several different names, including kitai on the Marquesas, korue on Tahanea in the Tuamotu Archipelago, taio in Samoa, and te bwebwe ni marawa on the Phoenix Islands of Kiribati.

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nesofregetta-fuliginosa-akk

Photo: Angela K. Keppler; by courtesy of Angela K. Keppler

http://www.pbif.org

Emoia cyanura (Lesson)

Blue-tailed Skink (Emoia cyanura)

This ‘species’ in fact isn’t a species in the common sense, it is most probably not monophyletic, that means the species’ name covers more than one species.

The Polynesian populations extend from Fiji into central Polynesia (Cook Islands, Society Islands) and east Polynesia (Tuamotu Archipelago). The western populations may be native, the central and eastern, however, were most probably imported by early Polynesian settlers.

There is still a lot to discover ….

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References:

[1] Walter C. Brown: Lizards of the genus Emoia (Scincidae) with observations on their evolution and biogeography. California Academy of Sciences, 1991
[2] Emilio M. Bruna; Robert N. Fisher; Ted J. Case: Morphological and genetic evolution appear decoupled in Pacific skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia). Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 263: 681-688. 1996
[3] Robert Fisher; Moeumu Uili; Czarina Iese; Fialelei Enoka: Reptiles of the Aleipata Islands: Surveys 2009–2010. In: Alan Tye, David J. Butler: Restoration of Nu’utele and Nu’ulua Islands (Aleipata Group), Samoa, through the management of introduced rats and ants. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program 2013

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emoia-cyanura-dpr

Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

Cenchrus caliculatus Cav.

Cenchrus caliculatus

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa
Cook Islands: Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Fiji: Batiki, Fulaga, Gau, Kabara, Koro, Mago, Matuku, Nairai, Ovalau, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wakaya
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Mangareva, Manui, Motu Teiku
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Nuku Hiva
New Zealand: Raoul Island (Kermadec-Inseln)
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island (ex)
Samoa: Savai’i (ex), Tutuila (ex), ‘Upolu (ex)
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Nomuka, Tofua, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Makatea

local names:

parango maori (?) – Miti’aro / Cook Islands
piripiri – Society Islands