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 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

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