Hydrotetrix aspera Uvarov

Rough Water Pygmy Grasshopper (Hydrotetrix aspera)

The Rough Water Pygmy Grasshopper was described in 1926.

The species is known to inhabit wet places near streams, both on Mo’orea and Tahiti, Society Islands.


Photo: Anne Duplouy

(under creative commons license (3.0))

Huperzia serrata (Thunb. ex Murray) Trevis.

Huperzia serrata


Fiji: Viti Levu
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i
Samoa: Savai’i
Society Islands: Tahiti

local names: –

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.



[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


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



edited: 18.01.14

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]



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



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



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.).



[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



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


Coleotichus adamsoni Van Duzee

Adamson’s Shield Bug (Coleotichus adamsoni)

Adamson’s Shield Bug is about 1,5 cm long, and was described in the year 1932 on the basis of several specimens that have been collected on some islands in the Marquesan archipelago.

The species, however, is also occurring on the Society Islands, at least on the islands of Mo’orea and Tahiti.

One of the known food plants of this species is the native tiatia (Dodonaea viscosa Jacq.). [1]



[1] E. P. Van Duzee: New Hemiptera-Heteroptera from the Marquesas. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 98: 177-192. 1932

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.



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


Phreatia matthewsii Rchb.f.

Phreatia matthewsii


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

local names: –



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



Photo: Tavita Togia

(under creative commons license (4.0))

Nervilia concolor (Blume) Schltr.

Unicoloured Nervilia (Nervilia concolor)


Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro
Fiji: Ovalau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
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..



[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



Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai; by courtesy of Ravahere Taputuarai


Partula fusca Pease

Brown Tree-Snail (Partula fusca)

The Brown Tree-Snail, whose shells were not always brown colored, but were as variable as the shells of most tree-snails, was endemic to the island of Ra’iatea.

The species was obviously not a tree dweller but terrestrial.

The Brown Tree-Snail, like most of its relatives from the island of Ra’iatea, died out at the end of the 20th century.



Depiction from: ‘George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; u.a.: Manual of Conchology. Second Series: Pulmonata Vol. 20, Caecilioides, Clessula and Partulidae. Index to Vols. 16-20. 1909-1910’