Acraea andromacha ssp. polynesiaca Rebel

Polynesian Glasswing (Acraea andromacha ssp. polynesiaca)

The Glasswing is distributed from Australia and New Guinea to West Polynesia, the Polynesian subspecies lives on the Fijian Islands, however, it is now probably extinct in Samoa and Tonga.

The Polynesian Glasswing has black patterned, translucent wings with a wingspan of about 5,5 cm, the sexes appear to be superficially identical.

The species lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves of the native Golden Passionflower (Passiflora aurantia G. Forst.) and certainly also on those of other, introduced passionflower species.

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References:

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

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Photo from: ‘Karl Rechinger: Botanische und Zoologische Ergebnisse einer wissenschaftlichen Forschungsreise nach den Samoa-Inseln, dem Neuguinea-Archipel und den Salomonsinseln. Wien: In Kommission bei Alfred Hölder 1907-1914′

(not in copyright)

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

Thyrocopa megas Walsingham

Large Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa megas)

The Large Thyrocopa Moth is endemic to the island of Maui, where it is known to inhabit the Haleakala volcano area.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 2,6 to 3,6 cm, the forewings are very light whitish brown with some brown scales, the hindwings are very light whitish brown with an almost white fringe.

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 9; Microlepidoptera Part 2; Gelechioidea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1978
[2] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009

Hasora chromus ssp. bilunata Butler

Pacific Awl Skipper (Hasora chromus ssp. bilunata)

The subspecies that occurs on the Fijian Islands furthermore occurs in New Guinea, on the Solomon Islands as well as in Vanuatu.

The butterflies reach a wingspan of 3,6 to 4,5 cm.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the Pongamia (Millettia pinnata (L.) Panigrahi).

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References:

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

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

Hypena longfieldae Collenette

Longfield’s Snout Moth (Hypena longfieldae)

Longfield’s Snout Moth was described in 1928.

The species is endemic to central Polynesia and can be found on the Austral Islands, the Marquesas and the Society Islands, where it is obviously restricted to higher elevations.

The moth reaches a wingspan of nearly 3 cm, it is extremely variable. [1]

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References:

[1] J. F. G. Clarke: The Lepidoptera of Rapa Island. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 56. 1971

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hypena-longfieldae-pto

Photo: Peter T. Oboyski; by courtesy of Peter T. Oboyski

http://nature.berkeley.edu/~poboyski/Lepidoptera/SocietyIslands.htm

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edited: 03.03.2017

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

Hyposmocoma eepawai Schmitz & Rubinoff

Eepa’s Water Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma eepawai)

This species was described in the year 2011.

The species is endemic to the island of Kaua’i, where it is known only from the drainage of the Kawaikoi stream on the north-western plateau of the Alaka’i swamp.

The amphibious caterpillars build bugle-shaped larval cases.

The moth reaches a wingspan of up to 1,6 cm, the forewings are mostly greyish-blue with pale tipped scales, with very few scattered rusty scales. [1]

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References:

[1] Patrick Schmitz; Daniel Rubinoff: The Hawaiian amphibious caterpillar guild: new species of Hyposmocoma (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) confirm distinct aquatic invasions and complex speciation patterns. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 162(1): 15–42. 2011

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edited: 29.01.2017

Hyposmocoma tetraonella (Walsingham)

Tetraonella Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma tetraonella)

This species, which has been scientifically described in the year 1907, was found in the Kona region on the island of Hawai’i at an elevation of about 1200 m.

The biology of this species is completely unknown so far.

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 9; Microlepidoptera Part 2; Gelechioidea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1978

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hyposmocoma-tetraonella-fh

Depiction from: ‘Fauna Hawaiiensis; being the land-fauna of the Hawaiian Islands. by various authors, 1899-1913. Cambridge [Eng.]: The University Press 1913′

Phazaca cythera (Swinhoe)

Cythera Urania Moth (Phazaca cythera)

This species, which was described in the year 1902, occurs from Southeast Asia to the Fijian Islands.

The moths reach wingspans of 1,7 to 2,4 cm. [1]

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phazaca-cythera-jac

References:

[1] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975

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Photo: John A. Clayton; by courtesy of John A. Clayton

http://www.usp.ac.fj/fijimoths