Asplenium trichomanes L.

Asplenium trichomanes


Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Maui
New Zealand: North Island; South Island

local names: –


Three subspecies are known to occur within the Polynesian region, of which only one is endemic.

The nominate race occurs in Australia and on New Zealand’s North- and South Islands, the subspecies Asplenium trichomanes ssp. densum (Brack.) W. H. Wagner is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, while the subspecies Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens Meyer, which is native to Australia and Europe, is known from a few population on New Zealand’s North Island.


Hibiscus furcellatus Desr.

Clay’s Hibiscus (Hibiscus furcellatus)


Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Maui, O’ahu

local names:

aloalo – Hawai’i Islands
‘akiahala – Hawai’i Islands
‘akiohala – Hawai’i Islands
hau hele – Hawai’i Islands
hau hele wai – Hawai’i Islands

Hyposmocoma papaiili Schmitz & Rubinoff

Crab Shell Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma papaiili)

The Crab Shell Cosmet Moth was scientifically described in the year 2011.

It is a rather inconspicuous dark greyish brown colored species, which is restricted to the island of Maui.

the males have a wingspan of about 0,72 to 0,88 cm, the females of up to 1,26 cm.

The larvae were found on Eucalyptus trees (which are not native to the Hawaiian Islands), where they most probably feed on lichens.

The larval case in its shape resembles somewhat the carapace of a crab. It is about 1 cm long and has an entrance at each of the both, strangely serrated ends.



[1] Patrick Schmitz; Daniel Rubinoff: Ecologically and Morphologically Remarkable New Cosmet Moth Species of the Genus Hyposmocoma (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, with Reference to the Spectacular Diversity of Larval Cases. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104(1): 1-15. 2011

Thyrocopa minor Walsingham

Smaller Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa minor)

This species is endemic to the island of Moloka’i.

The moth has a wingspan of about 1,8 cm, the forewings are mottled light brown and brown, the hindwings are brown.


[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

Chloridops kona Wilson

Kona Grosbeak (Chloridops kona)

The Kona Grosbeak was discovered at the end of the 19th century, at that time it was restricted to a tiny, only about 10 km² large area in the north of the Kona district on the island of Hawai’i.

This rather plump and inconspicuous looking bird fed almost exclusively on the dried seeds of the Naio tree (Myoporum sandwicense (A. Gray)), and could often be located by the cracking sound of its feeding.

R. C. L. Perkins was one of the few people, that saw the bird in life, he wrote about it in the year 1893.:

The Palila (Chloridops kona), though an interesting bird on account of its peculiar structure, is a singularly uninteresting one in its habits. It is a dull, sluggish, solitary bird, and very silent – its whole existence may be summed up in the words “to eat.” Its food consists of the seeds of the fruit of the aaka (bastard sandal-tree [Myoporum sandwicense (A. Gray)], and probably in other seasons of those of the sandal-wood tree), and as these are very minute, its whole time seems to be taken up in cracking the extremely hard shells of this fruit, for which its extraordinarily powerful beak and heavy head have been developed. I think there must have been hundreds of the small white kernels in those that I examined. The incessant cracking of the fruits when one of these birds is feeding, the noise of which can be heard for a considerable distance, renders the bird much easier to see than it otherwise would be. … I never heard it sing (once mistook the young Rhodacanthis’ song for that of Chloridops), but my boy informed me that he had heard it once, and its song was not like that of Rhodacanthis. Only once did I see it display any real activity, when a male and female were in active pursuit of one another amongst the sandal-trees. Its beak is nearly always very dirty, with a brown substance adherent to it, which must be derived from the sandal-tree.

Note, that the name Palila is actually the Hawaiian vernacular name for another drepanidine bird species – Loxioides bailleui (Oustalet).

The last living Kona Grosbeaks were seen in the year 1894.



[1] R. C. L. Perkins: Notes on Collecting in Kona. The Ibis 6(5): 101-111. 1893
[2] D. Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
[3] H. D. Pratt; P. L. Bruner; D. G. Berrett: A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press 1987
[4] E. Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987
[5] H. D. Pratt: The Hawaiian Honeycreepers: Drepanidinae. Oxford Univ. Pr. 2005


Depiction from: ‘W. Rothschild: The Avifauna of Laysan and the neighbouring islands with a complete history to date of the birds of the Hawaiian possession. 1893-1900’

by courtesy of Erin Clements Rushing

Haliophyle flavistigma (Warren)

Haliophyle flavistigma

This species appears to be restricted to the island of Maui, at least one other, closely related, but not yet described species occurs on the nearby island of Moloka’i. [2]

There is obviously still not much known about the biology of this species, a situation that is shared with so many other Polynesian insect species …. [1]


[1] E. C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 7, Macrolepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958
[2] F. G. Howarth; W. P. Mull: Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin. University of Hawaii Press 1992


Photo: Hank L. Oppenheimer

(under creative commons licence (3.0))

Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. & G. Forst.) Seem.

Pisonia umbellifera


Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Rarotonga
Fiji: Aiwa, Koro, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yagasa
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Eua

local names:

daiga – Fiji
papala – Hawai’i Islands
papala kepau – Hawai’i Islands
para para – Cook Islands
raro – Vanua Levu / Fiji
roro – Vanua Levu / Fiji



[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 2. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1981