Tag Archives: Kapa

Pteropus tonganus Quoy & Gaimard

Tongan Fruit-Bat (Pteropus tonganus)

The Tongan Fruit-Bat occurs with several subspecies in an area that stretches from New Guinea to the Cook Islands in Central Polynesia, whereby the form, that can be found in Polynesia, represents the nominate race.

These animals reach a wing span of more than one metre and spend the day more or less sleeping in roosting trees, where they sometimes form giant colonies.

In most parts of its geographic range the species is an important source of protein and is therefore heavily hunted, but also because the Fruit-Bats, being frugivores, can cause enormous damages in fruiting trees. Hence the species has become rare in some parts of its geographic range, in others it has even disappeared completely.

In the Kingdom of Tonga in contrast Tongan Fruit-Bats are considered as property of the royal family and therefore are protected from hunting – a very effective protection.

On the Cook Islands, the eastern most edge of its distribution area, the Tongan Fruit-Bat is called moa kirikiri, which means ‘leather chicken’. On the Fijian Islands it is called beka, bekua (in the west part of Viti Levu), beka dina or doli (on Kadavu).



[1] Jorge M. Palmeirim; Alan Champion; Alivereti Naikatini, Jone Niukula; Marika Tuiwawa; Martin Fisher; Mere Yabaki-Gounder; Sólveig Thorsteinsdóttir; Stanley Qalovaki; Thomas Dunn: Distribution, Status, and Conservation of Bats in the Fiji Islands. Oryx 41(4): 509-519. 2006


Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan



Emoia cyanura (Lesson)

Coastal Blue-tailed Skink (Emoia cyanura)


Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Nassau, Pukapuka, Rarotonga, Tongareva
Fiji: Taveuni, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva
Kiribati: Flint Island, Tabuaeran
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Fanuatapu, ‘Upolu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Tutuila
Society Islands: Huahine, Maupiha’a, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Tahiti
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu
Tonga: ‘Eua; Niuatoputapu; Lifuka (Ha’apai Islands); Tongatapu; ‘Euakafa, Kapa, Kenutu, Mafana, Maninita, Nuku, Pangaimotu, Taula, ‘Umuna, ‘Uta Vava’u, Vaka’eitu (Vava’u Islands)
Tuamotu Archipelago: Ahe, Anaa, Aratika, Fakarava, Hao, Katiu, Makemo, Manihi, Mataiva, Niau, Nihiru, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Raraka, Raroia, Takaroa, Takume, Tureia
Tuvalu: Funafuti
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

moko – Aitutaki, Miti’aro, Pukapuka, Tongareva / Cook Islands
moko kakara – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
moko sari – Fiji
motukutuku – Mangaia / Cook Islands


This ‘species’ in fact isn’t a species in the common sense, it is most probably not monophyletic, that means the species’ name covers more than one species.

The Polynesian populations extend from Fiji into central Polynesia (Cook Islands, Society Islands) and east Polynesia (Tuamotu Archipelago). The western populations may be native, the central and eastern, however, were most probably imported by early Polynesian settlers.

There is still a lot to discover …. [1][2][3][4][5]



[1] Walter C. Brown: Lizards of the genus Emoia (Scincidae) with observations on their evolution and biogeography. California Academy of Sciences 1991
[2] B. J. Gill: The land reptiles of Western Samoa. Journal of the Royal Society of new Zealand 23(2): 79-89. 1993
[3] B. J. Gill: Notes on the land reptiles of Wallis and futuna, South-West pacific. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum 32: 55-61.1995
[4] Emilio M. Bruna; Robert N. Fisher; Ted J. Case: Morphological and genetic evolution appear decoupled in Pacific skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B 263: 681-688. 1996
[5] Robert Fisher; Moeumu Uili; Czarina Lese; Fialelei Enoka: Reptiles of the Aleipata Islands: Surveys 2009–2010. In: Alan Tye, David J. Butler: Restoration of Nu’utele and Nu’ulua Islands (Aleipata Group), Samoa, through the management of introduced rats and ants. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program 2013



Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan



edited: 01.01.2019