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

Peperomia pallida

Distribution:

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
Niue
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: –

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

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

Fimbristylis cymosa R. Br.

Hurricane-Grass (Fimbristylis cymosa)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Tongareva
Fiji: Rotuma, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva, Taravai, Totegegie
Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Kure, Lana’i, Laysan, Lehua, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Enderbury Island, Jarvis Island, Kiritimati, Manra, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra-Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Ua Huka
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Maiao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Fafa, Fukave, Malinoa, Manima
Tuamotu Archipelago: Apataki, Hao, Makatea, Manihi, Niau, Rangiroa, Takapoto, Tenarunga, Tikehau, Toau
Tuvalu: Nui
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local name:

mati upoo – Tuamotu Archipelago
mauku – ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Tongareva / Cook Islands
mau’u’aki’aki – Hawai’i Islands
mouku – Tuamotu Archipelago
kukuti – Tuamotu Archipelago
pako pako – Tahiti / Society Islands
papa ‘enua – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
pupu – Rotuma / Fiji
te uteute ni mane – Kiribati
tuise – Tokelau
tumu ‘enua – Palmerston / Cook Islands
uti’uti hu’a – Society Islands
vayavaya – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

~~~

Two of three accepted subspecies of this species are known to occur within the Polynesian region, Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. cymosa R. Br. and Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. umbellatocapitata (Hillebr.) T. Koyama.

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 1. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1979

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

Boerhavia repens L.

Boerhavia repens

Distribution:

Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Hawai’i, Kaho’olawe, Kaua’i, Ka’ula, Kure, Lana’i, Laysan, Lehua, Lisianski, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu, Pearl and Hermes
Kiribati: Karoraina, Kiritimati, Malden Island, Starbuck Island, Vostok Island
Marquesas: Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka
Niue (?)
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Ta’u, Tutuila

local names:

alena – Hawai’i Islands
anena – Hawai’i Islands
nena – Hawai’i Islands
te wao – Kiribati

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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

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

Elytrurus niuei Zimmerman

Niue Coconut Weevil (Elytrurus niuei)

This species was described in the year 1956, it reaches a length of about 1 cm, the females are slightly larger than males.

The larvae seem to feed on the bark or wood of coconut palm trunks (Cocos nucifera L.). [1]

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Description of a new species of Elytrurus and a catalogue of the known species (Colepotera: Curculionidae: Otiorhynchinae). Pacific Science 10: 286-295. 1956

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elytrurus-niuei-padil-ch

Photo: Caroline Harding
http://www.padil.gov.au

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

Phreatia matthewsii Rchb.f.

Phreatia matthewsii

Distribution:

Fiji: Viti Levu
Niue
Samoa: Apolima, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: Tafahi

local names: –

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991

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phreatia-matthewsii-tt

Photo: Tavita Togia
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/tavita_togia2016

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

Nervilia concolor (Blume) Schltr.

Unicoloured Nervilia (Nervilia concolor)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro
Fiji: Ovalau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Niue
Samoa: Ofu, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Mo’orea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Motutunga, Niau, Takapoto, Tikehau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi

local names:

lautaha – Niue
pia rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands
pia rau-ta’i – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
pia ruatahi – Austral Islands
pua rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands

~~~

This species occurs from Southeast Asia into Polynesia, where it can be found on Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, as well as on the Austral-, the Cook-, and the Society Islands, and even on some of the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago. [1][2][3][4]

~~~

The species is perhaps better known by the synonym Nervilia aragoana Gaudich..

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References:

[1] T. G. Yuncker: The flora of Niue. Bishop Museum Bulletin 178: 1-126. 1943
[2] T. G. Yuncker: Plants of Tonga. Bishop Museum Bulletin 220: 1-283. 1959
[3] Harold St. John; Albert C. Smith: The Vascular Plants of the Horne and Wallis Islands. Pacific Science 25(3): 313-348. 1971
[4] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991

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nervilia-concolor-rt

Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai; by courtesy of Ravahere Taputuarai

http://moorea.berkeley.edu/content/rava-taputuarai