Zizina otis ssp. labradus (Godart)

Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis ssp. labradus)

The Lesser Grass Blue, a very small, blue butterfly with a wingspan of only about 1,5 cm, is a widely distributed species, that is still expanding its range, so for example the species has reached the Hawaiian Islands by 2008.

The formerly recognized subspecies ssp. cheesmanae (Poulton & Riley), ssp. mangoensis (Butler) are now obviously included in the ssp. labradus (Godart), which occurs in the Polynesian region and beyond, however, the taxonomical position of this species and its subspecies varies from author to author.

The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of legume species.

~~~

In Niue the species is called pepe lanu moana mama.

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References:

[1] John Adam Comstock: Lepidoptera of American Samoa with particular reference to biology and ecology. Pacific Insects Monographs 11: 1-74. 1966
[2] 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
[3] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[5] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 18.01.14

Euploea lewinii Felder & Felder

Crow Butterfly (Euploea lewinii)

This species, whose taxonomy is very confusing, occurs with several (?) subspecies within the Polynesian region, whereby, however, it seems not to be completely known, how far they are distributed here naturally.

Shown here is the Fijian subspecies (Euploea lewinii ssp. eschscholzii Felder & Felder).

Additional subspecies occur on the Samoan Islands (Euploea lewinii ssp. bourkei (Poulton)), on Tonga (Euploea lewinii ssp. mathewi (Poulton)) as well as on Niue and the Cook Islands (Euploea lewinii ssp. perryi (Butler)).

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of various fig species, including the Pacific Banyan (Ficus prolixa G. Forst.) and the Dye Fig (Ficus tinctoria G. Forst.).

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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] 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
[3] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[4] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007

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euploea-l-eschscholtzii-dhg

Photo: Donald H. Gudehus; by courtesy of Donald H. Gudehus

http://www.parfaitimage.com

Elytrurus niuei Zimmerman

Niue Coconut Weevil (Elytrurus niuei)

This species was described in the year 1956, it reaches a length of about 1 cm, the females are slightly larger than males.

The larvae seem to feed on the bark or wood of coconut palm trunks (Cocos nucifera L.). [1]

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Description of a new species of Elytrurus and a catalogue of the known species (Colepotera: Curculionidae: Otiorhynchinae). Pacific Science 10: 286-295. 1956

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elytrurus-niuei-padil-ch

Photo: Caroline Harding
http://www.padil.gov.au

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Phreatia matthewsii Rchb.f.

Phreatia matthewsii

Distribution:

Fiji: Viti Levu
Niue
Samoa: Apolima, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: Tafahi

local names: –

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991

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phreatia-matthewsii-tt

Photo: Tavita Togia
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/tavita_togia2016

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

Nervilia concolor (Blume) Schltr.

Unicoloured Nervilia (Nervilia concolor)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro
Fiji: Ovalau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Niue
Samoa: Ofu, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Mo’orea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Motutunga, Niau, Takapoto, Tikehau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi

local names:

lautaha – Niue
pia rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands
pia rau-ta’i – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
pia ruatahi – Austral Islands
pua rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands

~~~

This species occurs from Southeast Asia into Polynesia, where it can be found on Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, as well as on the Austral-, the Cook-, and the Society Islands, and even on some of the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago. [1][2][3][4]

~~~

The species is perhaps better known by the synonym Nervilia aragoana Gaudich..

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References:

[1] T. G. Yuncker: The flora of Niue. Bishop Museum Bulletin 178: 1-126. 1943
[2] T. G. Yuncker: Plants of Tonga. Bishop Museum Bulletin 220: 1-283. 1959
[3] Harold St. John; Albert C. Smith: The Vascular Plants of the Horne and Wallis Islands. Pacific Science 25(3): 313-348. 1971
[4] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991

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nervilia-concolor-rt

Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai; by courtesy of Ravahere Taputuarai

http://moorea.berkeley.edu/content/rava-taputuarai

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

Geniostoma rupestre J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.

Geniostoma rupestre

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa, Rurutu (?)
Fiji: Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Nasoata, Nayau, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Waya
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Pou
New Zealand: Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; North Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); Rangitoto Island; South Island; Manawa Tawhi Island, South West Island (Three Kings Islands); Tiritiri Matangi Island
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Mo’orea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Ha’apai, Kao, Motutapu, Onevai, Tafahi, Tofua, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

age – Rurutu / Austral Islands
ange – Rapa / Austral Islands
faipuu – Society Islands
hangehange – New Zealand
taipoipoi – Samoa

~~~

The species is split into several varieties, of which at least four occur within the Polynesian region, Geniostoma rupestre var. crassum (Cheeseman) Conn (endemic to New Zealand), Geniostoma rupestre var. glaberrimum (Benth.) Conn (most parts of Polynesia, especially French Polynesia), the nominate Geniostoma rupestre var. rupestre (western Polynesia), and Geniostoma rupestre var. tongense (A. C. Sm. & Stone) Conn (Fiji, Niue and Tonga).

Many of these varieties include synonyms that formerly were treated as distinct species. [1]

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References:

[1] Barry J. Conn: A taxonomic revision of Geniostoma Subg. Geniostoma (Loganiaceae). Blumea 26: 245-364. 1980

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geniostoma-r-v-rupestre-tt

nominate variety

Photo: Tavita Togia
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/tavita_togia2016

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

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

~~~

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!

~~~

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

Hypolimnas antilope (Cramer)

Yellow Eggfly (Hypolimnas antilope)

This species occurs in Southeast Asia and Australia, the subspecies discussed here (Hypolimnas antilope ssp. lutescens (Butler)) occurs from Melanesia up to West Polynesia.

The butterfly reaches a wingspan of up to 8 cm, and is mainly dark ochre-brown in color, and bears some lighter spots on all four wings.

The caterpillars feed, among other things, on the leaves of the Hairy Pipturus (Pipturus argenteus var. lanosus Skottsb.).

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References:

[1] 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
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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hypolimnas-a-lutescens-sh

Foto / Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

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edited: 28.01.2017

Planchonella torricellensis (K. Schum.) H. J. Lam

Planchonella torricellensis

Distribution:

Fiji: Rotuma
Niue
Samoa: Ofu, Savai’i, ‘Upolu, Ta’u, Tutuila
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna

local names: –