Hermatobates palmyra Polhemus & Polhemus

Palmyra Coral Treader (Hermatobates palmyra)

The Palmyra Coral Treader was described in 2012, it appears to live in the waters around the Line Islands, Kiribati.

The species can also be found around the Mariana Islands. [1]

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The coral treaders inhabit the surface of the ocean, where they search for insects that were blown onto the sea etc.. They are thus actually marine species that are not covered by my blog, however, being insects they may not be thought of as usual marine animals; thus I will mention these creatures in my blog as well.

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References:

[1] John T. Polhemus, Dan A. Polhemus: A Review of the Genus Hermatobates (Heteroptera: Hermatobatidae), with Descriptions of Two New Species. Entomologica Americana 118(1): 202-241. 2012

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Calliphora bryani Kurahashi

Rawaki Blow Fly (Calliphora bryani)

The Rawaki Blow Fly is obviously endemic to the island of Rawaki, where it feeds upon the carcasses of dead seabirds.

It is an about 0,5 to 0,7 cm long fly with a reddish-brown thorax, which is silver-grey dusted throughout. The abdomen is glossy bronze in color, the legs are reddish brown. The wings are hyaline.

The Rawaki Blow Fly is viviparous, that means it doesn’t lay eggs but gives birth to fully developed larvae.

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References:

[1] Hiromu Kurahashi: Tribe Calliphornini from Australian and Oriental regions, III. a new Calliphora from Phoenix Island, with an establishment of a new subgenus (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Pacific Insects 14(2): 435-438. 1972

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.

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In Niue this butterfly is called pepe mahina lanu.

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References:

[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

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Photo: Antonio Machado; by courtesy of Antonio Machado

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edited: 18.08.2017

Fimbristylis cymosa R. Br.

Hurricane-Grass (Fimbristylis cymosa)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Tongareva
Fiji: Rotuma, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva, Taravai, Totegegie
Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Kure, Lana’i, Laysan, Lehua, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Enderbury Island, Jarvis Island, Kiritimati, Manra, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra-Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Ua Huka
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Maiao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Fafa, Fukave, Malinoa, Manima
Tuamotu Archipelago: Apataki, Hao, Makatea, Manihi, Niau, Rangiroa, Takapoto, Tenarunga, Tikehau, Toau
Tuvalu: Nui
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local name:

mati upoo – Tuamotu Archipelago
mauku – ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Tongareva / Cook Islands
mau’u’aki’aki – Hawai’i Islands
mouku – Tuamotu Archipelago
kukuti – Tuamotu Archipelago
pako pako – Tahiti / Society Islands
papa ‘enua – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
pupu – Rotuma / Fiji
te uteute ni mane – Kiribati
tuise – Tokelau
tumu ‘enua – Palmerston / Cook Islands
uti’uti hu’a – Society Islands
vayavaya – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

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Two of three accepted subspecies of this species are known to occur within the Polynesian region, Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. cymosa R. Br. and Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. umbellatocapitata (Hillebr.) T. Koyama.

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 1. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1979

Macrophthalmus convexus Stimpson

Convex Sentinel Crab (Macrophthalmus convexus)

The Convex Sentinel Crabs are very small crabs having an average carapace diameter of about 1 x 1,5 cm to 1,5 x 3 cm and exceedingly long eyestalks.

They live in the intertidal zone, where they can be found abundantly on muddy places near the outlets of small streams, and are therefore absent from islands without such freshwater streams, e.g. the Tuamotus. The crabs feed on smallest food particles, which they sift out from the sand.

These crabs dig their burrows in muddy sand, in which they flee at the slightest disturbance.

On Aitutaki the crabs are called papaka.

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

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

Boerhavia repens L.

Boerhavia repens

Distribution:

Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Hawai’i, Kaho’olawe, Kaua’i, Ka’ula, Kure, Lana’i, Laysan, Lehua, Lisianski, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu, Pearl and Hermes
Kiribati: Karoraina, Kiritimati, Malden Island, Starbuck Island, Vostok Island
Marquesas: Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka
Niue (?)
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Ta’u, Tutuila

local names:

alena – Hawai’i Islands
anena – Hawai’i Islands
nena – Hawai’i Islands
te wao – Kiribati

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

Coenobita perlatus H. Milne Edwards

Strawberry Hermit Land Crab (Coenobita perlatus)

This species is distributed throughout the whole tropical Indopacific region, from the coasts of Africa up to East Polynesia, where it can be found in large numbers especially on the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

The animals mostly stay close to the beaches, where they feed on all applicable things they can get, including seeds washed up to the beach or fallen coconuts, but also washed up fish and dead seabirds.

Strawberry Hermit Land Crabs prefer the shells of sea snails of the genus Turbo.

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References:

[1] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[2] J. C. Yaldwyn; Kasimierz Wodzicki: Systematics and ecology of the land crabs (Decapoda: Coenobitidae, Grapsidae and Gecarcinidae) of the Tokelau Islands, Central Pacific. Atoll Research Bulletin 235: 1-59. 1979
[3] S. A. Hathaway; K. McEachern; R. N. Fisher: Terrestrial Forest Management Plan for Palmyra Atoll: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1007, 78 p. 2011

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

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

Boerhavia tetrandra G. Forst.

Boerhavia tetrandra

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Gaioio, Kouaku, Mangareva, Tararua-Roa, Tauna, Tekava, Temoe, Totegegie, Vaiatekeue
Kiribati: Baker, Flint, Howland, Jarvis, Kiritimati, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra, Tabuaeran, Teraina, Vostok
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island (?)
Samoa: Rose Atoll
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiha’a, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Motu One, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tuamotu Archipelago: Ahe, Ahunui, Anaa, Apataki, Arutua, Fakahina, Fakarava, Fangatau, Fangataufa, Hao, Hiti, Kauehi, Makatea, Manihi, Marutea Sud, Moruroa, Napuka, Niau, Nukutipipi, Paraoa, Rangiroa, Raraka, Raroia, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tatakoto, Tenarunga, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Tureia, Vahanga, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nui

local names:

katuri – Manihiki / Cook Islands
momoe – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands
naunau – Raraka / Cook Islands
runa – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
tiale katuri – Tongareva / Cook Islands

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edited: 10.04.2019

Megalorrhipida leucodactyla (Fabricius)

White-footed Feather Moth (Megalorrhipida leucodactyla)

The White-footed Feather Moth has a pantropical distribution, that means it occurs in the tropics worldwide, thus it probably occurs naturally in some parts of Polynesia as well.

The caterpillars are not specialized to any host plant species and feed on a wide range of plants, including the widespread species Boerhavia albiflora Fosberg, Boerhavia repens L. and Boerhavia tetrandra G. Forst..

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References:

[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

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megalorrhipida-leucodactyla-dh

Photo: Donald Hobern

(under creative commons license (2.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Ximenia americana L.

Ximenia americana

Distribution:

Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Tongareva
Fiji: Beqa, Cikobia-i-lau, Gau, Lakeba, Makaluva, Moala, Nakuci, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Rotuma, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Kiribati: Karoraina
Samoa: Manono, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Maupiha’a, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Ata, Malinoa, Monuafe, Motutapu, Onevai, Onevao, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Manihi, Mataiva, Niau, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto
Tuvalu: Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui

local names:

misimisi – Fiji
molimoli – Fiji
moli tai – Samoa
rama – Tongareva / Cook Islands
somisomi – Fiji
sosomi – Fiji
tomitomi – Fiji
tumitumi – Fiji

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edited: 10.04.2019