Persicaria acuminata (Kunth) M. Gómez.

Persicaria acuminata

Distribution:

Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui

local names:

tavari – Rapa Nui

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References:

[1] Georg Zizka: Flowering Plants of Easter Island. Palmarum Hortus Francofortensis 3. 1991

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Depiction from: ‘C. F. P. von Martius; A. W. Eichler; I. Urban: Flora Brasiliensis. Monachii et Lipsiae: R. Oldenbourg 1840-1906’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

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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

Microlepia strigosa (Thunb.) C. Presl

Lace Fern (Microlepia strigosa)

Distribution:

Fiji
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui
Society Islands: Tahiti

local names:

nehe nehe – Rapa Nui
palai – Hawai’i Islands
palapalai – Hawai’i Islands

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The Lace Fern is distributed in many parts of Asia, within the Polynesian region it occurs on Tahiti, Society Islands as well as on Rapa Nui. The species can also be found on the Hawaiian main islands, where on the island of Maui, an endemic variety, Microlepia strigosa var. mauiensis (W. H. Wagner) D. D. Palmer, is known to exist, which was formerly thought to be a distinct species, and which can be distinguished from the typical variety by its hairy fronds.

The Hawaiian name for this species is palai resp. palapalai, its fronds were used in ancient times to decorate the altars of laka, the hula goddess, as well as for making lei.

In Rapa Nui the species is named nehe nehe, a term that is used for almost all fern species.

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

Allodessus skottsbergi (Zimmermann)

Skottsberg’s Diving Beetle (Allodessus skottsbergi)

This species, which is endemic to Easter Island, was described in the year 1942.

Skottsberg’s Diving Beetle reaches a body length of about 0,2 to 0,23 cm and is yellowish to ferruginous colored, males and females are identically colored.

The beetle inhabits the crater lakes of Rapa Nui, where it lives among. [1][2]

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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

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edited: 23.06.2017

Ptychognathus easteranus Rathbun

Easter Island Crab (Ptychognathus easteranus)

The Easter Island Crab, described in the year 1907, was originally thought to be restricted to the waters around Easter Island, but was later found to occur on other Polynesian islands as well.

The species is restricted to estuaries and shallow stagnant waters, for example tide pools, but regularly enters freshwater streams and thus, is mentioned here.

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References:

[1] Gérard Marquet: Freshwater crustaceans of French Polynesia: taxonomy, distribution and biomass (Decapoda). Crustaceana 61(2): 125-140. 1991

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ptychognathus-easteranus-jp

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

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

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edited: 14.02.2017

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

Samolus repens (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Pers.

Samolus repens

Distribution:

New Zealand: Rangatira Island (Chatham Islands); Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; Kermadec Islands; North Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); South Island; Stewart Island; Betsy Island, Big Island, Kundy Island, Poutama Island (Titi Islands)
Norfolk Islands: Nepean Island, Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Pitcairn Island
Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui

local names:

maakoako – New Zealand
makoako – New Zealand

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Two varieties are known to occur within the Polynesian region, the nominate from New Zealand, the Pitcairn Islands and Easter Island; and var. strictus Cockayne, which occur in New Zealand and on the Norfolk Islands.

Lachnagrostis filiformis (G. Forst.) Trin.

Lachnagrostis filiformis

Distribution:

Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaho’olawe, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
New Zealand: Chatham Islands; Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); Tiritiri Matangi Island
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Rapa Nui: Motu Nui, Rapa Nui

local names: –

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lachnagrostis-filiformis-fks

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited:

05.02.2017

Physiphora insulaepaschalis (Enderlein)

Easter Island Lance Fly (Physiphora insulaepaschalis)

This fly species is one of the few, still existing endemic animal species of Easter Island that survived the complete destruction of the island’s former ecosystem.

The fly is about 0,25 to 0,28 cm in length, its wings, which are yellowish brown colored and inconspicuous banded, reach a length of about 0,25 cm.

The head is black and shows a strong metallic blue gloss, the forehead is yellowish brown in color. The thorax is deep black in color and glossy metallic blue too. The abdomen is brownish red in color and glossy blue too. The legs are dark brown in color.

Males and females resemble each other.

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References:

[1] G. Enderlein: Die Dipterenfauna der Juan-Fernandez-Inseln und der Oster-Insel. in The Natural history of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island, edited by Carl Skottsberg. Vol. 3: 643-680., Zoology. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri, 1921-1940