Anthophila chelaspis (Meyrick)

Marquesan Metalmark Moth (Anthophila chelaspis)

The Marquesan Metalmark Moth was described in the year 1929.

This species is endemic to the Marquesas, where it occurs with at least two subspecies (a third one seems to exist but hasn’t been described yet), of which the nominate race lives on Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa, while the other two are found on Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou respectively.

The moth reaches a wingspan of about 1,4 cm.

The biology is not known, however, the caterpillars probably feed on the only native fig species, the aoa (Ficus prolixa G. Forst.). [1]



[1] J. F. Gates Clarke: Pyralidae and Microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 416. 1986


ssp. chelaspis (Meyrick) from Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa

ssp. euthenia (Clarke) from Nuku Hiva

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

Moths of French Polynesia


edited: 23.08.2017


Peperomia pallida (G. Forst.) A. Dietr.

Peperomia pallida


Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Samoa: Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga: Niuatoputapu, Tafahi, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Niau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna

local names: –


There are some forms of hybrid origin, Peperomia x abscondita and Peperomia pallida x societatis J. W. Moore.

Abutilon sachetianum Fosberg

Abutilon sachetianum


Marquesas: Eiao, Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva

local name:

fautea – Marquesas



[1] F. Raymond Fosberg; Marie-Hélène Sachet: Polynesian Plant Studies 6-18. Smithsonian Institution 1981
[2] Jacques Flores: Flore de la Polynésie française Vol 1 & 2. IRD Éditions, Publications Scientifiques du Muséum 2004

Mumfordia spinata Van Dyke

Spined Scavenger Beetle (Mumfordia spinata)

This species was described in 1932.

The Spined Scavanger Beetle is endemic to the island of Hiva Oa, Marquesas.

The biology of this species is still completely unknown.



[1] E. C. Van Dyke: Two new Lathridiidae from the Marquesas. Bishop Museum Bulletin 98: 237-234. 1932

Ducula galeata (Bonaparte)

Nukuhiva Imperial Pigeon (Ducula galeata)

For a very long time this bird was thought to be endemic to the Marquesan island of Nuku Hiva – this, however, turned out to be far from the truth.

In fact, in historical times this species had a much wider geographical range, including the Cook Islands, as well as the Society Islands, and of course all of the Marquesan Islands as well. The birds were extirpated from most of their former range already by the Polynesian settlers, and had their last refuge on the island of Nuku Hiva – a situation that is called artificial endemism (… in fact, there are several other bird species within Polynesia that share the same situation …).

The Nukuhiva Imperial Pigeon is a huge bird, reaching about 55 cm from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail, it is therefore the largest surviving pigeon species in Polynesia.

Nevertheless the bird is far from being flightless.

The endangered species was reintroduced to another of the Marquesasn islands, Ua Huka, were it is breeding since, and the future of this impressive species seems to be a good and save one.


Photo: Virginie & Fabien (fabvirge); by courtesy of Virginie & Fabien (fabvirge)

Exelastis pumilio (Zeller)

Dwarf Feather Moth (Exelastis pumilio)

This widespread species is native to Africa and Asia, and probably also to Melanesia and parts of Polynesia, where it is found on the Fijian Islands, in Samoa, on the Austral – and the Society Islands, on the Marquesas and on the Gambier Islands.

The moths have a wingspan of 1,2 to 1,5 cm.

The caterpillars feed on various species of several plant families, including Fabaceae and Oxalidaceae.



[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
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007


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

Trioza alipellucida Klyver

Marquesan Trioza Psyllid (Trioza alipellucida)

This species is endemic to the Marquesas, where it is known from at least five islands.

The Marquesan Trioza Psyllid reaches a length of about 0,3 cm, it is generally dark chocolate brown to jet black colored, usually with a yellow brown stripe one-third as wide as the thorax extending from the median posterior margin of the scutellum to the tips of the genae, with the stripe lacking or imperfectly developed in the darker specimens, with a patch of similar color on the thorax at the base of the wings.

The species appears not to be restricted to a single host, since it is known to feed on several native plant species, including Ilex anomala Hook. & Arn., Metrosideros collina (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) A. Gray and Weinmannia marquesana F. Br.. [1]



[1] F. D. Klyver: Anomoterga tahuata, new genus and new species, and other Chermidae from the Marquesas. Bishop Museum Bulletin 98: 93-101. 1932

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]



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



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


edited: 03.03.2017