Tag Archives: Lepidoptera

Chloroclystis katherina Robinson

Katherina’s Geometer Moth (Chloroclystis katherina)

This species, which was described in 1975, is obviously endemic to Viti Levu, Fiji, and appears to be restricted to montane forests.

The moth has a wingspan of 1,5 to 1,8 cm.

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References:

[1] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975
[2] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007

Deudorix doris Hopkins

Samoan Cornelian (Deudorix doris)

The adult has a wingspan of about 3 cm, the forewings are black with the so-called cell fiery red colored, the hindwings are of the same red color for about a third of their area.

The males appear to be much commoner than females, but these may just hide in the forest canopy, where they are quite difficult to observe. [1]

~~~

The caterpillars are thought to feed on fruits of native tree species including Elaeocarpus spp. and Hernandia spp.. [2]

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References:

[1] G. H. E. Hopkins: Insects of Samoa and other Samoan terrestrial Arthropoda. Part III. Lepidoptera, Fasc. 1. Butterflies of Samoa and some neighboring island-groups. London 1927
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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female and male

Depictions from: ‘G. H. E. Hopkins: Insects of Samoa and other Samoan terrestrial Arthropoda. Part III. Lepidoptera, Fasc. 1. Butterflies of Samoa and some neighboring island-groups. London 1927’

(public domain)

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.

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References:

[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.

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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

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]

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References:

[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

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Photo: Hank L. Oppenheimer
http://hear.smugmug.com

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

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]

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References:

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

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

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edited: 23.08.2017

Thyrocopa geminipuncta Walsingham

Twinspotted Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa geminipuncta)

The Twinspotted Thyrocopa Moth obviously occurs on the islands of Maui and Moloka’i.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 2 to 2,2 cm.

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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

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.

~~~

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

Hyposmocoma eliai Schmitz & Rubinoff

Elia’s Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma eliai)

This species was described in the year 2011, it is so far known only from the type locality near the Nawiliwili bay in the southeast of the island of Kaua’i.

It is one of the smallest species of its genus, males have a wingspan of only about 0,45 to 0,5 cm. The color of the forewings is blackish, except for three disconnected white stripes on each of the wings, and some dark grey scales, the hindwings are completely grey in color.

The larvae live on large barren volcanic rocks along the shoreline, which regularly getting sprayed with salty sea water. They build a bag-shaped, about 0,4 cm long larval case, made of fine sand interwoven with silk.

They obviously feed on algae. [1]

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References:

[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

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edited: 01.03.2016

Hyposmocoma moopalikea Schmitz & Rubinoff

Palikea Water Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma moopalikea)

The Palikea Water Cosmet Moth was described in the year 2011.

The species is endemic to the island of Maui, it is so far known only from the vicinity of the Palikea stream in the Kipahulu valley.

The case-bearing caterpillars are aquatic, the larval cases are burrito-shaped and 0,5 to 0,7 cm in length.

The male moth reaches a wingspan of about 1 cm, the female is slightly larger. The forewings are mostly dark brown with some scattered off-white scales. [1]

~~~

The Palikea Water Cosmet Moth appears to be very rare. [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

Thyrocopa apatela (Walsingham)

Flightless Haleakala Moth (Thyrocopa apatela)

The Haleakala Flightless Moth, also named as Grasshopper Moth, lives in the alpine zones of the Haleakala volcano.

Both sexes of this unconspicuous, about 1,5 cm long moth species have short wings and are flighless. They flutter in the wind, resembling dried leaves and are blown to appropriate deposits of organic debris, that have accumulated in rock crevices, where they mate and lay eggs.

The larvae can be found under large rocks, where the build web nests and where they feed on dried leaves and other organic debris.

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Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

Comodica coarctata (Clarke)

Rapa Comodica Moth (Comodica coarctata)

This species was described in the year 1971, it is so far known only from the island of Rapa.

The moth reaches a wingspan of 0,8 to 1 cm.

The caterpillars feed on dead, dry fruits or dry leaves of the Screw Pine (Pandanus tectorius Parkinson ex Du Roi), they hide themselves in a cocoon, constructed of tightly cemented silk, plant fibers and frass.

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

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

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edited: 15.08.2017

Fautaua diagonalis Collenette

Diagonal-lined Owlet Moth (Fautaua diagonalis)

The Diagonal-lined Owlet Moth was described in the year 1928, it is the type species of the genus, that is restricted exclusively to the Society Islands archipelago.

This species occurs on the islands of Mo’orea and Tahiti, its biology, however, seems to be unknown so far.

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

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

Haliophyle connexa (Warren)

Haliophyle connexa

This species is endemic to the island of Hawai’i, where it is known from the area around Olaa at an elevation of about 610 m, nothing else is known about this species.

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References:

[1] E. C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 7, Macrolepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958

Thyrocopa kanaloa Medeiros

Kanaloa Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa kanaloa)

The Kanaloa Thyrocopa Moth, which was described in the year 2009, is endemic to the highly devastated and desertificated small island of Kaho’olawe.

The species reaches a wingspan of only 1,4 to 1,6 cm, the forewings are mottled very light brown to black, sometimes they show one or more very small, faint black spots, the hindwings are very light brown.

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References:

[1] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009

Hyposmocoma domicolens (Butler)

House-dwelling Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma domicolens)

This species was described already in 1881, the type specimen was collected in a house – thus its species epithet.

The adult reaches a wingspan of about 1,3 cm.

The species is so far known only from the Makawao Forest Reserve, a habitat that is now rapidly declining due to damage from invasive ungulates. [1][2]

~~~

There are several specimens from other islands (Hawai’i, Lana’i, and Moloka’i), that were erroneously assigned to this species. [1]

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 9; Microlepidoptera. Part II. Gelechioidea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1978
[2] Akito Y. Kawahara; Daniel Rubinoff: Three new species of fancy case caterpillars from threatened forests of Hawaii (Lepidoptera, Cosmopterigidae, Hyposmocoma). ZooKeys 170: 1-20. 2012

Stigmella hakekeae Donner & Wilkinson

Hakeke Pigmy Moth (Stigmella hakekeae)

~~~

This species is known to inhabit the South Island as well as Stewart Island.

The Hakeke Pigmy Moth is quite large for its genus, it reaches a wingspan of about 0,6 cm.

The caterpillars of this species are adapted to endemic New Zealand tree asters like Olearia arborescens (G. Forst.) Cockayne & Laing, Olearia x macrodonta, Olearia nummularifolia (Hook. f.) Hook. f., and Olearia paniculata (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Druce, they feed within the leaves, creating frass–filled tunnels with a typical vermiculated shape.

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Reeferences:

[1] Hans Donner; Christopher Wilkinson: Nepticulidae (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 16. 1989

Erechthias flavistriata (Walsingham)

Sugarcane Bud Moth (Erechthias flavistriata)

This species was described in the year 1907.

The larvae are known to feed on a wide range of plants including Coconut Palms, Screwpines, but also cultivated plants like Bananas, Pineapples, and Sugarcane.

The species may actually originate from Melanesia and may have been introduced to Polynesia accidently by man.

Thyrocopa subahenea Walsingham

Thyrocopa subahenea

This species inhabits the islands of Maui and Moloka’i.

The moth reaches a wingspan of about 1,6 to 2,4 cm, the forewings are mostly brown, but are quite variable in pattern, the hindwings are brown or light brown.

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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

Hippotion velox (Fabricius)

Swift Hawk Moth (Hippotion velox)

In January 2002 the small island of Maninita in the Tongan Vava’u group was hit by the cyclone Waka, one of the most destructive tropical cyclones ever to affect the Tongan islands. The island’s forest, dominated by three tree species, puopua (Guettarda speciosa L.), fao (Ochrosia oppositifolia (Lam.) K. Schum) and puko (Pisonia grandis R. Br.), was indeed badly damaged, but the trees appeared not to have been defoliated by the cyclone itself but by an immense outbreak of caterpillars following the disaster.

These caterpillars were identified as belonging to the Fijian Bee Hawk Moth (Cephonodes armatus Rothschild & Jordan) and to the Swift Hawk Moth (Hippotion velox), whose occurrence on the Tongan islands was verified thereby for the first time.

~~~

The Swift Hawk Moth is a middle-sized species, reaching a wingspan of 5,5 to 7,5 cm.

The species has a wide distribution and occurs from Asia and Australia to Polynesia, where it is now known from the Cook Islands, the Fijian Islands, from Samoa and the Tokelauan atolls. The Swift Hawk Moth has only recently begun to colonize New Zealand as well.

The caterpillars are able to use a wide range of plant species as food, including members from the Aroid family (Araceae), the Morning Glory family (Convolvulaceae), the Four O’Clock family (Nyctaginaceae) and the Coffee family (Rubiaceae).

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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] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998
[3] D. M. Houston: Eradicating rats from Maninita Island, Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga August 2002. New Zealand Agency for International Development, Tonga Visitors Bureau, Ministry of Land, Survey and Natural Resources, Department of Environment, Kingdom of Tonga

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

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

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edited: 29.06.2017

Euploea schmeltzi Herrich-Schäffer

Samoan Crow (Euploea schmeltzi)

The Samoan Crow, which is sometimes regarded as a subspecies of the Long-branded Blue Crow (Euploea algae (Godart)), occurs exclusively on the Samoan archipelago.

The animals are quite variable in appearance as well as in their size, they have wingspans of 5,2 to 6,4 cm.

When disturbed they hide among the vegetation, where they are well camouflaged by their coloration, as long as they keep their wings closed.

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Photo from: ‘Karl Rechinger: Botanische und zoologische Ergebnisse einer wissenschaftlichen Forschungsreise nach den Samoainseln, dem Neuguinea-Archipel und den Salomonsinseln von März bis Dezember 1905. Wien: In Kommission bei Alfred Hölder 1907-1914′

(not in copyright)

Alucita pselioxantha (Meyrick)

Tuamotu Many-plumed Moth (Alucita pselioxantha)

This species was described in the year 1929 based on material that had been collected on the Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago.

The biology of this species is completely unknown.

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)

Symmacra solidaria (Guenée)

Green Symmacra Geometer Moth (Symmacra solidaria)

Distribution:

Fiji: Nanuya Lailai, Naukacuvu, Ovalau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Samoa: Tutuila, ‘Upolu

local names: –

***

The Green Symmacra Geometer Moth was described in 1858, it is a widespread Indo-pacific species that occurs from southeastern Asia and Australia to Melanesia and western Polynesia including Fiji and Samoa.

The form that inhabits the Polynesian region is considered a distinct subspecies, ssp. baptata (Warren), it is apparently endemic to that region.

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Refrences:

[1] Louis B. Prout: Insects of Samoa and other Samoan terrestrial Arthropoda. Part III. Lepidoptera, Fasc. 3. Geometridae. London 1928
[2] John Adams Comstock: Lepidoptera of Amercian Samoa with particular reference to biology and ecology. Pacific Insects Monographs 11: 1-74. 1966
[3] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975

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edited: 02.01.2019

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.

~~~

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

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)

Distribution:

Fiji: Vanua Levu, Viti Levu

local names: –

***

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

The species reaches a wingspan of 1,7 to 2,4 cm. [1]

*********************

References:

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

*********************

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

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

*********************

edited: 26.12.2018

Thyrocopa apikia Medeiros

Deceptive Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa apikia)

The Deceptive Thyrocopa Moth, described in the year 2009, is endemic to the island of Moloka’i.

The moth has a wingspan of about 2,8 to 3,2 cm, the forewings are brown to dark brown to rich purplish brown, the hindwings are of a lighter brown.

The species is superficially similar to Thyrocopa subahenea Walsingham, with which it shares its habitat, both species can be separated by their genitalia.

********************

References:

[1] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009

Anomis samoana (Butler)

Samoan Anomis Moth (Anomis samoana)

This species is so far known from Fiji, the Samoan Islands as well as from Tokelau, but may well be more widely distributed.

The species is obviously restricted to primary forest, which does not exist on the Tokelauan atolls, so the record from there may refer to a vagrant or was a misidentification.

*********************

References:

[1] John Adam Comstock: Lepidoptera of American Samoa with particular reference to biology and ecology. Pacific Insects Monographs 11: 1-74. 1966
[2] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[3] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975

*********************

anomis-samoana-jac

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

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

*********************

edited: 27.02.2017

Alucita objurgatella (Walsingham)

Alahee Many-plumed Moth (Alucita objurgatella)

This species was described in the year 1907, it reaches a wingspan of about 1 cm.

The Alahee Many-plumed Moth is thus far known only from the Hawaiian Islands, more precisely from the islands of Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Maui, and O’ahu – however, Elwood C. Zimmerman writes in 1958 in ‘Insects of Hawaii’: “I believe that this species is not a member of the native fauna and that it will some day be reported from its true home outside of Hawaii.”.

The larvae feed on the flower buds, fruits, and seeds of the native Alahe’e shrub (Psydrax odorata (G. Forst.) A. C. Sm. & S. P. Darwin), and are parasitized by various native parasitic wasp species, including the Metallic Eulophid Wasp (Euderus metallicus (Ashmead)) and the Hawaiian Ichneumon Wasp (Pristomerus hawaiiensis Perkins).

*********************

References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii; A Manual of the Insects of the Hawaiian Islands, including an Enumeration of the Species and Notes on their Origins, Distribution, Hosts, Parasites, etc.. Vol. 8, Lepidoptera: Pyralidae. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958

*********************

alucita-objurgatella-fhaw

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

Erechthias strangulata (Meyrick)

Entwined Fungus Moth (Erechthias strangulata)

The Entwined Fungus Moth was described in the year 1929 on the basis of material that was collected on the Fakarava atoll, however, the type specimen is practically denuded, lacking any scales on its wings, which again are highly damaged, the abdomen is missing, the thorax is merely a sceleton. [1][2]

~~~

The species is so far known only from the Fakarava atoll and may indeed be endemic.

*********************

References:

[1] Edward Meyrick: The Micro-Lepidoptera of the “St. George” expedition. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 76(2): 489-521. 1929
[2] J. F. G. Clarke: The Lepidoptera of Rapa Island. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 56. 1971

Thyrocopa alterna Walsingham

Unarmed Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa alterna)

This species is known to occur on the islands of Hawai’i and Maui.

The species reaches wingspans from 1,6 to 3 cm, with the individuals from Hawai’i generally being larger than those from Maui.

~~~

Following a revision of the genus in 2009 two forms formerly treated as distinct species are now included within this species, Thyrocopa adumbrata Walsingham and Thyrocopa inermis Walsingham.

********************

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

Callopistria maillardi (Guenée)

White Tangle Fern Moth (Callopistria maillardi)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Fiji: Leleuvia, Moce, Naukacuvu, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Viwa, Yasawa
New Zealand: Raoul Island (Kermadec Islands)
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Samoa: Savai’, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Tahiti
Tonga

local names: –

***

The White Tangle Fern Moth was described in 1862, it is an Indo-pacific species that occurs in parts of Africa to Asia and Australia well into eastern Polynesia.

There are several synonyms that formerly were thought to constitute distinct species and subspecies, some of which were believed to be endemic to single islands or island groups.

The species reaches a wingspan of 2,7 to about 3 cm.

The caterpilars feed on several endemic, native or even introduced fern species including Adiantum, Asplenium, Lygodium, Microsorum, Nephrolepis and Pellaea spp.. [1][2]

***

The species is also known from the Hawaiian Islands, but is very likely not native to these islands.

*********************

Refrences:

[1] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975
[2] Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Conservation International Pacific Islands Programme: Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of Key Biodiversity Areas: Falealupo Peninsula Coastal Rainforest, Central Savaii Rainforest, and Uafato-Tiavea Coastal Rainforest, Samoa. Apia, Samoa 2017

*********************

edited: 05.01.2019

Chasmina candida (Walker)

Candid Satin Moth (Chasmina candida)

Distribution:

Fiji: Moce, Nananu-i-Ra, Naviti-i-Ra, Rotuma, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Samoa
Tonga

local names: –

***

The Candid Satin Moth, described in 1865, is indigenous to the Indo-Australian tropics and occurs furthermore up to western Polynesia including the Fijian Island, Samoa and Tonga.

The adult moths are bright white, except for the forelegs and the antennae, which are light brown in color.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the widespread Beach Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.).

*********************

References:

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

*********************

Photo: Matthew Kwan
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/matthewkwan

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

*********************

edited: 25.12.2018

Hyposmocoma opuulaau Schmitz & Rubinoff

Tree Cone Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma opuulaau)

This species from the island of Maui was described in the year 2011.

The larval case of this species is a small and thin, elongate cone-shaped, up to 0,9 cm long structure, and is decorated with very small bits of sand and dried plant pieces which are woven with silk filaments on the dorsal half of the case. The case is bicolored, being pale gray to silvery on the ventral side. It furthermore has an operculum which can be closed by the larva from the inside.

The larvae were found on and beneath the bark of Swamp Mahagony trees (Eucalyptus robusta Sm.), a tree species that is not native to the Hawaiian Islands, and that was only introduced by men. They most probably feed on algae and lichens, crowing on the bark.

The adult moths have very dark grey to nearly black colored forewings, the hindwings are a shade lighter.

They have a wingspan of 0,7 to about 1 cm.

*********************

References:

[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

Utetheisa pulchelloides Hampson

Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides)

This species occurs with several subspecies in many parts of the ‘Old World’ and has also colonized many island groups within the Indian – and the Pacific Ocean.

The subspecies occurring in Polynesia is Utetheisa pulchelloides ssp. marshallorum Rothschild (see photograph), it is found on the Fijian Islands, in Samoa and Tonga, in all parts of ‘French’ Polynesia up to the Pitcairn Islands.

The caterpillars of this species feed on the leaves of the beach heliotrope (Heliotropium foertherianum Diane & Hilger).

~~~

Another subspecies, Utetheisa pulchelloides ssp. vaga Jordan, regularly immigrates from Australia to New Zealand, where it has also already established temporary breeding colonies.

*********************

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] Gaden S. Robinson: The Genus Utetheisa Hübner in Fiji with a description of a new species (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 83: 123-130. 1971
[4] G. W. Gibbs: A temporary breeding colony of Utetheisa pulchelloides vaga in New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist 5(2): 162-163. 1973

*********************

utetheisa-p-marshallorum-dhg

Photo: Donald H. Gudehus; by courtesy of Donald H. Gudehus

http://www.parfaitimage.com

Hypolimnas errabunda (Hopkins)

Samoan Eggfly (Hypolimnas errabunda)

This beautiful butterfly, with its rather ugly name, is one of several larger butterfly species that are endemic to the Samoan Islands.

This species was scientifically described in the year 1927 and was subsequently considered lost, until its rediscovery in the year 2009.

The caterpillars of this species feed (among others ?) on the leaves of the Fau pata (Cypholophus macrocephalus var. mollis (Wedd.) Wedd.), a member of the Nettle family (Urticaceae).

*********************

References:

[1] O. H. Sweezey: Notes on Food Habits of Lepidoptera in Samoa. Proc. Haw. Ent. Soc. 11(2): 202-216. 1942
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

Vanessa gonerilla Fabricius

New Zealand Red Admiral (Vanessa gonerilla)

The New Zealand Red Admiral is an endemic species of New Zealand, it was formerly split into two subspecies, of which the nominate race was considered to occur on the New Zealand main islands.

The former subspecies of the Chatham Islands, however, is now treated as a distinct species, thus the New Zealand Red Admiral is a monotypic species. [1]

The species reaches a wingspan of about 5 to 6 cm.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the various native New Zealand nettle species, especially of Urtica ferox G. Forst., and Urtica incisa Poir..

~~~

The Maori name of this species is kahukura, which literally means “red cloak”.

*********************

References:

[1] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

*********************

vanessa-gonerilla-jm

Photo: Jon Sullivan
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/jon_sullivan

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

*********************

edited: 28.01.2017

Hyposmocoma pukoa Schmitz & Rubinoff

Koa Bugle Cosmet Moth (Hyposmocoma pukoa)

The Koa Bugle Cosmet Moth was scientifically described in the year 2011. This species is so far known from the Makawao Forest Reserve only, where its larvae can be found on Koa Acacias (Acacia koa A. Gray).

As in all Hyposmocoma species, the larvae live in a larval case. This larval case is a bugle-shaped structure, and about 0,4 to 0,7 cm in length. Its color is a light grey with several darker bands, representing somewhat like growth rings that show the different periods during which the larva has expanded its case.

The adult moths are light grey in color, and display some inconspicuous, darker markings on their forewings.

The males have a wingspan of about 0,9 to 1 cm, the females are slightly larger than the males.

*********************

References:

[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

Hypolimnas antilope (Cramer)

Yellow Eggfly (Hypolimnas antilope)

This species occurs in Southeast Asia and Australia, the subspecies discussed here (Hypolimnas antilope ssp. lutescens (Butler)) occurs from Melanesia up to West Polynesia.

The butterfly reaches a wingspan of up to 8 cm, and is mainly dark ochre-brown in color, and bears some lighter spots on all four wings.

The caterpillars feed, among other things, on the leaves of the Hairy Pipturus (Pipturus argenteus var. lanosus Skottsb.).

*********************

References:

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

*********************

hypolimnas-a-lutescens-sh

Foto / Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

*********************

edited: 28.01.2017

Utetheisa clareae Robinson

Fijian Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa clareae)

The Fijian Heliotrope Moth was scientifically described in the year 1971.

This species occurs exclusively on Fiji and is now threatened with extinction.

The larvae of this species feed on the leaves of the beach heliotrope (Heliotropium foertherianum Diane & Hilger).

*********************

References:

[1] Gaden S. Robinson: The genus Utetheisa Hübner in Fiji with a description of a new species (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 83: 123-130. 1971

Nacaduba dyopa (Herrich-Schäffer)

Owl-spotted Blue (Nacaduba dyopa)

The Owl-spotted Blue occurs with at least two subspecies from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in Melanesia to western Polynesia, where the nominate race is known from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 1,9 to 2,5 cm. The underwings are greyish brown peppered with numerous white bands, the very large and conspicuous hindwing ocelli are prominently outlined in iridescent blue-green.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of Dendrolobium umbellatum (L.) Benth., a widespread coastal tree.

*********************

References:

[1] G. E. Tite: A synonomic list of the genus Nacaduba and allied genera (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 13(4): 67-116. 1963
[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

*********************

nacaduba-dyopa-mob

Photo: Mark O’Brian

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

Thyrocopa kokeensis Medeiros

Kokee Thyrocopa Moth (Thyrocopa kokeensis)

The Kokee Thyrocopa Moth, a rather small species described in the year 2009, is endemic to the island of Kaua’i.

The moth has a wingspan of about 1,6 to 1,8 cm, the forewings are mottled very light whitish grey or whitish-brown and grey or brown and clouded with several poorly defined blackish spots, the hindwings are light brown.

********************

References:

[1] Matthew J. Medeiros: A revision of the endemic Hawaiian genus Thyrocopa (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae: Xyloryctinae). Zootaxa 2202: 1-47. 2009

Nacaduba niueensis Lachlan

Niuean Blue (Nacaduba niueensis)

This species, which is strictly restricted to the island of Niue, is actually known since 1979, when the first specimen, a female, was collected. The specimen was recognized as something new, but was not described, since only the type specimen was available.

It was, however, only described in 2012. [1][3]

The male is more or less completely blackish brown coloured on the upper side, and bears on its wings some very few glossy blue scales, giving the wings a somewhat glimmering appearance.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of toi (Alphitonia zizyphoides (Solander) A. Gray).

This is the only endemic day-flying lepidopteran species of Niue.

*********************

References:

[1] Jacqueline 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
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012
[3] R. B. Lachlan: A new species of Nacaduba Moore (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from Niue, southwestern Pacific Ocean. Australian entomologist, 39(2): 49-54. 2012

Hyblaea puera (Cramer)

Red Teak Moth (Hyblaea puera)

The Red Teak Moth is native to Southeast Asia, but occurs also in New Guinea and northern Australia, in the Polynesian region it seems to be native at least to the Fijian Islands and to Samoa.

The species can also be found on Rarotonga in the Cook Archipelago, on Tahiti in the Society Archipelago, as well as on Hiva Oa in the Marquesas, but, however, it may have only recently been accidentally introduced to these islands.

The caterpillars feed on a large number of different plant species from various genera and families (Gossypium, Premna, Rhizophora, Terminalia, Vitex, among others).

*********************

References:

[1] John Adam Comstock: Lepidoptera of American Samoa with particular reference to biology and ecology. Pacific Insects Monographs 11: 1-74. 1966
[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

*********************

hyblaea-puera-pto

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

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

Asota woodfordi Druce

Woodford’s Tiger Moth (Asota woodfordi)

This species, which was described in the year 1888, is obviously endemic to the Fijian Islands.

It has a wingspan of up to 5 cm.

*********************

References:

[1] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[2] R. Zahiri; J. D. Holloway; I. J. Kitching; J. D. Lafontaine; M. Mutanen; N. Wahlberg: Molecular phylogenetics of Erebidae (Lepidoptera, Noctuoidea). Systematic Entomology. 37(1): 102–124. 2012

*********************

asota-woodfordi-hd-llh

Depiction from: ‘Herbert Druce: List of the Lepidoptera Heterocera collected by Mr. C. M. Woodford at Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands, with the Descriptions of some new Species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 219-231. 1888′

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Catochrysops taitensis Boisduval

Tahitian Blue (Catochrysops taitensis)

The Tahitian Blue was described in the year 1832.

The species obviously occurs in parts of Melanesia and is distributed far into Polynesia, where it can be found in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga as far as to the Cook- and Society Islands.

~~~

Within the Polynesian region there are at least two subspecies, of which the ssp. hopkinsi Miller & Miller is endemic to the Tongan Islands, while the ssp. pepe Hopkins occurs on the Cook Islands and in Samoa.

*********************

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

Nacaduba biocellata ssp. armillata (Butler)

Double-spotted Line Blue (Nacaduba biocellata ssp. armillata)

The Double-spotted Line Blue is distributed from Indonesia to Australia as well as Melanesia, where the ssp. armillata (Butler) occurs.

The species is known in Fiji from only two individuals of the Melanesian subspecies, that were collected at Lautoka, a city in the northwest of Viti Levu, and which possibly were vagrants.

~~~

The caterpillars feed on the flowers, buds, and shoots of several Acacia species.

*********************

References:

[1] G. E. Tite: A synonomic list of the genus Nacaduba and allied genera (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 13(4): 67-116. 1963
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[3] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

Xyridacma alectoraria (Walker)

Five Finger Looper Moth (Xyridacma alectoraria)

Distribution:

New Zealand: Codfish Island; Otamahua Island; North Island; South Island

local names:

puareare – New Zealand

***

The Five Finger Looper Moth, described in 1860, is endemic to New Zealand where it appears to be quite common.

The vernacular name refers to the food plant of its caterpillars, native species of five finger (Pseudopanax spp.).

The species reaches a wingspan of about 4 cm, the male is bright yellow and bears two spots on each wing, which vary from whitish to brown, the female is less colorful and bears fewer markings on its wings.

*********************

female

male

Photos: Birgit E. Rhode, Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd.

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

*********************

edited: 22.12.2018

Hippotion hateleyi Holloway

Hateley’s Hawk Moth (Hippotion hateleyi)

Hateley’s Hawk Moth was discovered in the year 1986, the species was described in 1990.

The species seems to be restricted to Henderson Island / Pitcairn Islands, while most other sphingid moth species are very widespread.

This is probably the species whose larvae periodically defoliate the Pisonia trees on the island. [1]

*********************

References:

[1] J. D. Holloway: The Lepidoptera of Easter, Pitcairn and Henderson Islands. Journal of Natural History 24(3): 719-729. 1990

*********************

hippotion-hateleyi-ry

Photo: Robert Young

(under creative commons licence (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Izatha blepharidota Hoare

Eyelash Lichen Tuft Moth (Izatha blepharidota)

This species was described in the year 2010.

The Eyelash Lichen Tuft Moth reaches a wingspan of about 2,3 to 2,6 cm, and seems to be confined to the northern part of New Zealand’s North Island.

The caterpillars feed on the wood of dead branches and twigs of various native plant species, including tutu (Coriaria arborea Linds.), kanuka (Kunzea ericioides (A. Rich.) Joy. Thomps.), horoeka (Pseudopanax crassifolius (Sol. ex A. Cunn.) C. Koch), and kareao (Ripogonum scandens J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.). [1]

*********************

References:

[1] Robert J. B. Hoare: Izatha (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Oecophoridae). Fauna of New Zealand 65. 2010

Genophantis leahi Swezey

Akoko Pyralid Moth (Genophantis leahi)

The Akoko Pyralid Moth was described in the year 1910.

The species, which had a wingspan of 1,8 to 2 cm, occurred on at least four of the Hawaiian Islands, namely Hawai’i, Maui, Moloka’i, and O’ahu.

The caterpillars of this species fed abundantly on the leaves of the native akoko (Euphorbia degeneri Sherff), but were also found on the introduced Euphorbia hirta L.. The caterpillars hid themselves in self-made nets along the stems as well as between adjacent leaves, they fed upon one surface and the mesophyll of the leaf, but left the other epidermis untouched, hence, their presence on the plant was indicated by webbed dead leaves.

~~~

The Akoko Pyralid Moth is now considered extinct, the reasons, however, are not known – but the author of the species states in the species description.:

Limnerium blackburni [Diadegma blackburni (Cameron)] is quite common as a parasite on the larvae of this moth. From a batch of larvae collected, usually more parasites are reared than moths.”

Maybe there was some kind of an imbalance between this parasitoid wasp species and its host that led to the extinction of the latter.

*********************

References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii; A Manual of the Insects of the Hawaiian Islands, including an Enumeration of the Species and Notes on their Origins, Distribution, Hosts, Parasites, etc.. Vol. 8, Lepidoptera: Pyralidae. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958

*********************

genophantis-leahi-phes

Depiction from: ‘Otto H. Sweezey: Some New Species of Hawaiian Lepidoptera. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 2: 103-106. 1908-1912’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Cnaphalocrocis hemicrossa (Meyrick)

Polynesian Grass-Leafroller (Cnaphalocrocis hemicrossa)

The Polynesian Grass-Leafroller species was described in the year 1887.

The species, which seems to be restricted to the Austral – and the Society Islands, reaches a wingspan of about 1,7 cm.

The caterpillars feed on various grasses of the genus Paspalum, they form longitudinal tubes by rolling the grass-blades lengthwise and then feeding on the blade tissue beyond this tube.

*********************

References:

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

*********************

cnaphalocrocis-hemicrossa-pto

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

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

Omiodes euryprora Meyrick

Olaa Banana Leaf-roller (Omiodes euryprora)

The Olaa Banana Leaf-roller was found in the Ola’a rainforest on the island of Hawai’i and was described in the year 1899.

The moth reached a wingspan of about 2,5 cm.

The larvae were exclusively found on the leaves of banana plants, which however are not native to the Hawaiian Islands but were introduced to the islands by the Polynesian settlers. That means on the one hand, that the native larval host plant/plants is/are unknown, and on the other hand, that this species was able to adapt to new species of host plants.

It is possible that this moth species is not extinct, as it was thought for a long time.

*********************

References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 8; Lepidoptera: Pyralidae. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958
[2] William P. Haines; Jon Giffin; David Foote: Rediscovery of five species of Omiodes Guenée (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on Hawai’i Island. Bishop Occasional Papers 79: 45-49. 2003

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omiodes-euryprora-fhaw

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

(horizontally flipped)

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

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edited: 20.09.2016

Glyphodes multilinealis Kenrick

Fig Tiger-Moth (Glyphodes multilinealis)

This species, like most of the larger Polynesian butterfly and moth species, occurs over a large geographical range, thus it can be found in North Australia and Melanesia, but also in India and Japan. In Polynesia it occurs from Fiji up to the Society Islands.

The adult moth reaches a wingspan of about 2,5 cm.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the very widespread Pacific Banyan (Ficus prolixa Forst. f.), but may also consume the leaves of other Ficus species.

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glyphodes-multilinealis-jac

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

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

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edited: 19.09.2016

Xyridacma ustaria Walker

Tarata Looper Moth (Xyridacma ustaria

Distribution:

New Zealand: Codfish Island; North Island; South Island

local names: –

***

The Tarata Looper moth was described in 1863, the species is endemic to New Zealand where it appears to quite common.

Adult Tarata Looper Moths have a wingspan of about 4 cm, they are very variably colored and marked.

The caterpillars of this species feed on the leaves of the tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides A. Cunn.) and the kohuhu (Pittosporum tenuifolium Gaertn.), and very likely also of other species of this genus.

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xyridacma-ustaria-doho

Photo: Donald Hobern
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/dhobern

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 22.12.2018

 

Piletocera albescens Rebel

Whitish Grass Moth (Piletocera albescens)

This species was described in the year 1915.

The day-active Whitish Grass Moth is hitherto known from the Fijian Islands (?) and from Samoa, its biology, however, is quite unknown.

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References:

[1] James Atherton; Bruce Jefferies: Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of Upland Savai’i, Samoa. 2012

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piletocera-albescens-hr

Photo from: ‘H. Rebel: Neuer Beitrag zur Lepidopterenfauna der Samoa-Inseln. Mitteilungen aus dem Naturhistorischen (Zoologischen) Museum in Hamburg 32: 121-158. 1915’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org