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).

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References:

[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

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

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

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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)

Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Caesalpinia bonduc

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
Fiji: Leleuvia, Makaluva, Nasoata, Nayau, Nukuci, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Rotuma, Sawa-i-lau, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yasawa
Gambier Islands: Kamaka
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Laysan, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Marquesas: Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Savai’i, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Ata, Fafa, Foa, Niuatoputapu, Oneata, Onevai, Pangaimotu, Tongatapu

local names:

anaoso – Samoa
hihikolo – Hawai’i Islands
kakalaioa – Hawai’i Islands
soni – Vanua Levu / Fiji
tartar mann – Rotuma / Fiji

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 3. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1985

Pandanus tectorius Parkinson ex Du Roi

Screw Pine (Pandanus tectorius)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Dravuni, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Laucala, Mabualau, Makaluva, Matamanoa, Matuku, Moala, Monuriki, Nagigia, Namenalala, Namuka, Nananu, Nasoata, Naviti, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Qamea, Rotuma, Solkope, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatoa, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wayasewa, Yanucalailai, Yanucalevu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Makapu, Makaroa, Mangareva, Manui, Mekiro, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Flint Island, Karoraina, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Motu Nono, Motu Puuru, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fafa, Foa, Fukave, Kao, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Motutapu, Mounu, Niuatoputapu, Nuku, Oneata, Onevai, Onevao, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tafahi, Tau, Tofua, Toketoke, Tongatapu, Tufaka, ‘Uiha, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Akiaki, Anaa, Aratika, Hao, Katiu, Makatea, Makemo, Manihi, Mataiva, Morane, Mururoa, Napuka, Niau, Nukutepipi, Rangiroa, Raroia, Tahanea, Taiaro, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tatakoto, Temoe, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Vahitahi
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niulakita, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Faioa, Fenua Fo’ou, Futuna, Nukuatea, Nukuloa, Nukutapu, ‘Uvea

local names:

‘ara – Aitutaki / Cook Islands
‘ara pepe – ‘Atiu, Ma’uke / Cook Islands
‘ara-ta’atai – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
‘ara-tai – ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro / Cook Islands
balawa – Fiji
draudreka – Fiji
fa – Niue; Tonga
fa’a mei – Marquesas
fa feutu – Niue
fa fi – Niue
fa ivi – Niue
fala – Samoa
falavao – Olohega / Tokelau
fala vao – Tokelau
fara – Manihiki, Palmerston, Rakahanga / Cook Islands; Tupai / Society Islands; Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
fara moa – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara moua – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara uteute – Tahiti / Society Islands
fasa – Samoa
hala – Hawai’i Islands
hala kilipaki – Hawai’i Islands (spineless clone)
hara – Tongareva / Cook Islands
hat – Rotuma / Fiji
hata – Rotuma / Fiji
hosoa – Rotuma / Fiji
kiakia – Rotuma / Fiji
kie – Tonga (spineless clone)
lau fala – Samoa (spineless clone)
pandana – Palmerston / Cook Islands
pu hala – Hawai’I Islands
sa’aga – Rotuma / Fiji
te kaina – Kiribati
teou – Nui / Tuvalu
teto – Nui / Tuvalu
tima – Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
uea – Tupai / Society Islands
vadra – Fiji
varawa – Fiji
voivoi – Fiji
wala – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

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The Screw Pine is a geographically widespread and exceptionally morphologically variable species (or maybe a species complex). In the Polynesian region this plant is found almost everywhere, except for climatically inappropriate areas like New Zealand or Rapa Nui.

The Screw Pine was once one of the most important plants for the Polynesians, and Screw Pine saplings, together with saplings of Breadfruit Trees, Coconut Palms, Taro and several others, were transported by the Polynesian settlers on their boats during inter-island migration – to be planted out at their new island homes.

The Polynesians, over time, reared numerous cultivars, among them such whose leaves are lacking spines on their margins, and which therefore are very well-suited for weaving.

The exceptional variability of the wild and cultivated forms lead to the description of countless species, subspecies and varieties. So, Harold St. John alone described in his “Revision of the Genus Pandanus” various female plants as distinct species – in many cases from geographically very localized populations. In a biological sense, all of these ‘species’ are part of the same population, and furthermore, it is impossible to designate male plants to such ‘species’.

Some of the morphologically distinct forms that are seemingly restricted to the higher elevations of larger islands, like Pandanus papenooensis H. St. John on Tahiti or Pandanus temehaniensis J. W. Moore on Ra’iatea, are often still referred to as distinct species.

(I personally, however, see all of these forms as Pandanus tectorius.)

Nevertheless, the genus is in urgent need of a proper revision!

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As already mentioned, in virtually all parts of Polynesia the leaves were and are used for weaving, among other things, for elaborate mats, especially in Tonga, or boat sails (in former times on the Hawai’i Islands), right up to roofs and walls of houses (!). The stilt roots were used, for example, on the Cook Islands, for house building (as abutment walls) too.

The fruits are fruit heads comprising an aggregate of many tightly bunched phalanges or drupes that are edible. In some cultivars, these drupes reach the size of an apple. They are eaten especially in parts of Kiribati, Tokelau, and in Tuvalu.

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References:

[1] Sven Buerki; Martin W. Callmander; Dion S. Devey; Lauren Chappell; Timothy Gallaher; Jérôme Munzinger; Thomas Haevermans Félix Forest: Straightening out the screw-pines: A first step in understanding phylogenetic relationships within Pandanaceae. Taxon 61(5): 1010-1020. 2012
[2] Timothy Gallaher; Martin W. Gallmander; Sven Buerki; Sterling C. Keeley: A long distance dispersal hypothesis for the Pandanaceae and the origins of the Pandanus tectorius complex. Molecular Phylogenetis and Evolution 83: 20-32.2015

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pandanus-tectorius-fks

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 13.02.2017

Egretta sacra (Gmelin)

Pacific Reef-Egret (Egretta sacra ssp. sacra)

The Pacific Reef-Egret is an about 60 cm large, rather short-legged egret, that lives predominantly in coastal areas.

The birds occur in mangrove-filled estuaries or along rocky shores, where they feed on small fish, mollusks and crustaceans.

The nominate race of this species occurs from South and Southeast Asia to Australia and into almost the whole pacific region (with the exception of New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, where the ssp. albolineata (G. R. Gray) occurs).

In some regions of Polynesia the Pacific Reef-Egret is nowadays the only surviving of the native bird species.

There are three color morphs, dark slate grey colored birds, pure white birds as well as an intermediate phase that is mottled white with dark slate grey. It is a somewhat strange fact, that in some areas, for example New Zealand and Samoa, only birds of one of these morphs (in both cases the dark morph) are breeding, while in other places all three morphs live together.

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egretta-s-sacra-ps

Photo: Phil Swanson; by courtesy of Ross Silcock

http://www.rosssilcock.com

Hoya australis R. Br. ex Traill

Hoya australis

Distribution:

Fiji: Beqa, Cicia, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Namuka, Nasoata, Nawi, Nayau, Nukulau, Ono, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Waya, Yanucalevu
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Eua, Niuafo’ou, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Toketoke, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

bitabita – Fiji
bitibiti – Fiji
bitubitu – Fiji
bulibuli sewaro – Fiji
bulibuli sivaro (?) – Fiji
drau bibi – Fiji
fue sa – Samoa
fue selela – Samoa
hoi – Rotuma / Fiji
laumatolu – ‘Eua / Tonga
nabetebete – Fiji
nabetiabete – Fiji
olive vao – Tutuila / Samoa
sinu – Futuna / Wallis & Futuna
suni – Samoa
wa bi – Fiji
wa bibi – Fiji
wa bi levu – Fiji
wa tabua – Fiji

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This species occurs from Australia to western Polynesia, it is divided into several subspecies, of which two are known to occur within the Polynesian region. The nominate race occurs in Fiji as well as in Wallis & Futuna, while the other subspecies, Hoya australis ssp. tenuipes (K. D. Hill) P. I. Forst. & Liddle occurs in Samoa and Tonga.

The species probably hybridizes with other species, one such hybrid (with Hoya chlorantha Rech.) was described from Tutuila, Samoa as Hoya x tuafanua Whistler & Kloppenburg.

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References:

[1] Berthold Seemann: Flora Vitiensis: Adescription of the plants of the Viti or Fiji Islands with an account of their history, uses, and properties. London: L. Reeve 1865-73
[2] Harold St. John; Albert C. Smith: The Vascular Plants of the Horne and Wallis Islands. Pacific Science 25(3): 313-348. 1971
[3] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 4. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1988
[4] Donald R. Drake; Timothy J. Motley; W. Arthur Whistler; Clyde T. Imada: Rain forest vegetation of ‘Eua Island, Kingdom of Tonga. New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 65-77. 1996

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hoya-australis-savaii-sh

Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

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edited: 11.10.2016

Peperomia blanda var. floribunda (Miq.) H. Huber

Peperomia blanda var. floribunda

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Fiji: Gau, Kadavu, Moala, Ovalau, Rotuma, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Waya
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Makaroa, Mangareva, Manui, Mekiro, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
New Zealand: Raoul Island (Kermadec Islands)
Pitcairn Islands: Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Apolima, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’utele, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga
Tuamotu Archipelago: Makatea

local names:

aa-va – Hiva Oa, Tahuata / Marquesas
auvavaaina – Hiva Oa, Tahuata / Marquesas
iupito – Rurutu / Austral Islands
nohoau – Tahiti / Society Islands
o’a – Rurutu / Austral Islands
pakii – Akamaru, Aukena, Mangareva / Gambier Islands
patoa – Tahiti / Society Islands
pikimato – Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Rarotonga / Cook Islands
piripapa – Maupiti / Society Islands
pua pua marino – Taravai / Gambier Islands
kavai – Hiva Oa, Tahuata / Marquesas
kavaliki – Rapa / Austral Islands
kawa kawa iki – Nuku Hiva / Marquesas
vaianu ma’atea – Makatea / Tuamotu Archipelago
vao vai (?) – Samoa

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peperomia-b-v-floribunda-fks

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com