Orobophana musiva (Gould)

Mosaic Orobophana Snail (Orobophana musiva)

This species was described in 1847, it is found in Fiji, in Samoa, and obviously in Tuvalu as well.

The Mosaic Orobophana Snail is found under decaying vegetation at low elevations, very often near the coast.

It is a very small species, the shells reach heights of only about 0,2 cm, they vary in color from several shades of yellow and orange to reddish-brown.

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References:

[1] Robert H. Cowie; Rebecca J. Rundell: The land snails of a small tropical island, Aunu’u, American Samoa. Pacific Science 56(2): 143-147. 2002

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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

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

Digitaria stenotaphrodes (Nees ex Steud.) Stapf

Digitaria stenotaphrodes

Distribution:

Cook Islands: Pukapuka, Suwarrow
Society Islands: Tetiaroa
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Arutua, Faaite, Fakarava, Fangatau, Hao, Makatea, Makemo, Manihi, Nengonengo, Niau, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takume, Tenararo, Tikehau, Tureia
Tuvalu (?)

local names:

vayavaya – Pukapuka / Cook Islands

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edited: 10.04.2019

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.

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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

Lepidodactylus tepukapili Zug, Watling, Alefaio, Alefaio & Ludescher

Tepuka Gecko (Lepidodactylus tepukapili)

The Tepuka Gecko was described in the year 2003.

The species is so far known exclusively from two of the motu of the Funafuti atoll in Tuvalu – Fuakea and Tepuka.

The animals reach a length of about 8 cm long and is predominantly tinged in several shades of brown.

The nocturnal species spends the day hidden under loose bark and in bark crevices on the trunks of several living trees, specifically fetau (Calophyllum inophyllum L.).

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References:

[1] G. R. Zug; D. Watling; T. Alefaio; S. Alefaio; C. Ludescher: A new gecko (Reptilia: Squamata: Genus Lepidodactylus) from Tuvalu, South-central Pacific. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 116(1): 38-46. 2003

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Photo: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

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

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

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

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

Pisonia grandis R. Br.

Pisonia grandis

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Kadavu, Mabualau, Nayabo, Rotuma, Vanua Levu
Hawai’i Islands: Lisianski, Maui
Kiribati: Abariringa, Enderbury, Flint, Karoraina, Kiritimati, Malden, Manra, McKean, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra, Starbuck, Tabuaeran, Teraina, Vostok
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Fatu Huku, Hatu Iti, Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Rose-Atoll, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiha’a, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Motu One, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fukave, Lifuka, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Maninita, Mokotu’u, Motutapu, Nomuka, Onevai, Onevao, Tau, Toketoke, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Fangatau, Kaukura, Makatea, Mataiva, Napuka, Niau, Nukutipipi, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tenararo, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Nui, Niulakita, Niutao, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Motu Faioa, ‘Uvea

local names:

buka – Fiji
puka – Cook Islands
puka avarua – Mangaia / Cook Islands
pukatea – Cook Islands
pu’avai – Samoa
talatalabia – Fiji

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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: 10.04.2019