Dryadomorpha lais (Eyles & Linnavuori)

Rarotongan Dryad Leafhopper (Dryadomorpha lais)

The Rarotongan Dryad Leafhopper, originally described as a distinct species, is now often regarded as being identical with the Metrosideros Dryad Leafhopper (Dryadomorpha metrosideri (Osborn)).

I personally, however, doubt that these two species are identical.

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References:

[1] Herbert Osborn: Cicadellidae of the Marquesas Islands. Bishop Museum Bulletin 114: 239-269. 1935
[2] A. C. Eyles; R. Linnavuori: Cicadellidae and Issidae (Homoptera) of Niue Island, and material from the Cook Islands. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 1(1): 29-44. 1974

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edited: 23.06.2017

Agriocnemis exsudans Sélys

Narrow-winged Damselfly (Agriocnemis exsudans)

The genus Agriocnemis comprises about 40 species, two of which occur within the Polynesian region.

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The Narrow-winged Damselfly shows a wide distribution, which stretches from Australia across Melanesia up to Polynesia, were it is found on the Norfolk Islands, in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, and on the Cook Islands. [1][2][3][4]

The species reaches a body length of about 3 cm.

The species mainly inhabits standing waters, but it can also be found at very slow flowing stream sections.

~~~

The name Agriocnemis vitiensis Tillyard is a synonym for this species.

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References:

[1] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006
[2] C. Morrison; S. Nawadra; M. Tuiwawa: A rapid biodiversity assessment of the Nakorotubu Range, Ra and Tailevu Provinces, Fiji. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 59. Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA 2009
[3] Milen Marinov: Contribution to the Odonata of the Kingdom of Tonga. Faunistic Studies in South-East Asia and Pacific Island Odonata 1: 1-18. 2013
[4] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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agriocnemis-exsudans-dmm

Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov

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edited 03.03.2017

Ocypode ceratophthalma (Pallas)

Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalma)

The Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific, where it occurs from the coasts of East Africa far into Polynesia, where the animals run about the beaches in search for edible things, including washed up dead fish, or dead sea birds, but also newly hatched sea turtles.

It is a quite large species with a carapace size of up to 8 cm in diameter. It can be distinguished from other related crabs by the eyestalks extending beyond the eyes into long points, those stalks are longer in males, and shorter or almost absent in females.

In Samoa, the species is called avi’ivi’i resp. pa’a.

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ocypode-ceratophthalma-jp

Photo: J. Poupin; by courtesy of J. Poupin

http://decpoda.ecole-navale.fr/index.php
http://decapoda.free.fr

Cyclosorus subpectinatus (Copel.) Ching

Cyclosorus subpectinatus

Distribution:

Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti

local names: –

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References:

[1] Li-Juan He; Xian-Chun Zhang: Exploring generic delimination within the fern family Thelypteridaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65: 757-764. 2012

Phlegmariurus phlegmaria (L.) Holub.

Phlegmariurus phlegmaria

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Fiji: Rotuma, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou
Niue
Samoa: Namu’a, Nu’utele, Olosega, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

mohemohe – Niue

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References:

[1] F. Badré; M. Hoff: Les Ptéridophytes des Iles Wallis et Futuna (Pacifique Sud): écologie et répartition. Feddes Repertorium 106(3-4): 271-290. 1995
[2] Ashley R. Field; Peter D. Bostock: New and existing combinations in Palaeotropical Phlegmariurus (Lycopodiaceae) and lectotypification of the type species Phlegmariurus phlegmaria (L.) T. Sen & U. Sen. PhytoKeys 20: 33–51. 2013

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edited: 18.02.2017

Callistopteris apiifolia (C. Presl) Copel.

Callistopteris apiifolia

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Fiji: Kadavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Samoa: Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Huahine, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti

local names: –

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References:

[1] Atsushi Ebihara; Jean-Yves Dubuisson; Kunio Iwatsuki; Sabine Hennequin; Motomi Ito: A taxonomic revision of Hymenophyllaceae. Blumea 52(2): 1-60. 2006

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

Macrobranchium lar (Fabricius)

Tahitian Prawn (Macrobranchium lar)

The Tahitian Prawn is a Indopacific species, its native area stretches from the rivers of the coastal regions of East Africa well into Central Polynesia.

The species shows some sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger than the females.

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In Wallis and Futuna the species is cultivated commercially in taro fields.

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On the Cook Islands the species is called koura-vai ti’aka, in Samoa all prawn species, including this one, are named ula vai.

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References:

[1] Gérard Marquet: Freshwater crustaceans of French Polynesia: taxonomy, distribution and biomass (Decapoda). Crustaceana 61(2): 125-140. 1991
[2] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006

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macrobranchium-lar-sh

Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

Minidonta aroa Brook

Aroa Minidonta Snail (Minidonta aroa)

This species was described in the year 2010 from subfossil shells that were found in the sandy soil of the coastal plains between the villages of Aro’a and Arorangi on the southwest coast of the island of Rarotonga.

The shells reach an average size of 0,25 to 0,3 cm in diameter.

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The species, which obviously was restricted to lowland areas, died out most probably already shortly after the colonization of the island by Polynesians.

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References:

[1] F. J. Brook: Coastal landsnail fauna of Rarotonga, Cook Islands: systematics, diversity, biogeography, faunal history, and environmental influences. Tuhinga 21: 161-252. 2010

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).

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

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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] 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

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utetheisa-p-marshallorum-dhg

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

http://www.parfaitimage.com