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

Anomis samoana (Butler)

Samoan Anomis Moth (Anomis samoana)

This species is so far known from Fiji, the Samoan Islands as well as from Tokelau, but may well be more widely distributed.

The species is obviously restricted to primary forest, which does not exist on the Tokelauan atolls, so the record from there may refer to a vagrant or was a misidentification.

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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] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[3] Gaden S. Robinson: Macrolepidoptera of Fiji and Rotuma: a taxonomic and biogeographic study. Classey 1975

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anomis-samoana-jac

Photo: John A. Clayton; by courtesy of John A. Clayton

http://www.usp.ac.fj/fijimoths

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edited: 27.02.2017

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

~~~

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!

~~~

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

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).

~~~

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

Chrysopogon aciculatus (Retz.) Trin.

Chrysopogon aciculatus

Distribution:

Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Fiji: Batiki, Beqa, Gau, Kanacea, Koro, Mago, Matuku, Moala, Moturiki, Rotuma, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu
Hawai’i Islands: Kaua’i, Lana’i, West-Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Namu’a, Ta’u, Tutuila
Tokelau: Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Niuafo’ou

local names:

kase – Fiji

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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

Emoia cyanura (Lesson)

Blue-tailed Skink (Emoia cyanura)

This ‘species’ in fact isn’t a species in the common sense, it is most probably not monophyletic, that means the species’ name covers more than one species.

The Polynesian populations extend from Fiji into central Polynesia (Cook Islands, Society Islands) and east Polynesia (Tuamotu Archipelago). The western populations may be native, the central and eastern, however, were most probably imported by early Polynesian settlers.

There is still a lot to discover ….

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References:

[1] Walter C. Brown: Lizards of the genus Emoia (Scincidae) with observations on their evolution and biogeography. California Academy of Sciences, 1991
[2] Emilio M. Bruna; Robert N. Fisher; Ted J. Case: Morphological and genetic evolution appear decoupled in Pacific skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia). Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 263: 681-688. 1996
[3] Robert Fisher; Moeumu Uili; Czarina Iese; Fialelei Enoka: Reptiles of the Aleipata Islands: Surveys 2009–2010. In: Alan Tye, David J. Butler: Restoration of Nu’utele and Nu’ulua Islands (Aleipata Group), Samoa, through the management of introduced rats and ants. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program 2013

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emoia-cyanura-dpr

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

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

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

Lepturus repens (J. R. Forst.) R. Br.

Lepturus repens

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Batiki, Fulaga, Gau, Kabara, Kadavu, Kanacea, Koro, Mago, Matuku, Nasoata, Nayau, Nukulau, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Toberua, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Aukena, Akamaru, Kamaka, Mangareva, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Kure, Laysan, Lehua, Lisianski, Midway, Pearl and Hermes Reef
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Enderbury Island, Flint Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Karoraina, Kiritimati, Manra, McKean Island, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Starbuck Island, Tabuaeran, Teraina
New Zealand: North Chanter Island (Kermadec Islands)
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Mopelia, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Makaha’a, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Oneata, Polo’a, Tongatapu, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Matureivavao, Niau, Nukutepipi, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takume, Tenararo, Tenarunga, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Toau, Vahanga, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Niutao, Nui, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names: –

Ischnura aurora Brauer

Aurora Bluetail (Ischnura aurora)

The genus Ischnura is distributed nearly worldwide, within the Polynesian region it contains 13 described species, plus at least an additional ten hitherto undescribed species, which are known to await their description alone on the Society Islands.

~~~

The Aurora Bluetail is a wandering species, which occurs from India well into East Polynesia.

It is a smaller damselfly species, which reaches a wingspan of about 3 cm. The males are very colorful (see photograph), while the females are rather plain light brown in color.

~~~

The enigmatic Spinytail Forktail (Ischnura spinicauda (Brauer)), described in the year 1865 as a distinct species, is now known to be identical with the Aurora Bluetail. [7]

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References:

[1] M. A. Lieftinck: Some Odonata of Rapa Island, with descriptions of three Polynesian species of Ischnura Charpentier. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 109: 89-102. 1966
[2] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998
[3] 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
[4] R. Englund; D. A. Polhemus: A review of the damselfly fauna of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia, with descriptions of two new species (Odonata: Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 153(1): 25-40. 2010
[5] R. J. Rowe: Ischnura aurora (Brauer 1865) (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae), an Australo-Pacific species. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 37(2): 189-192. 2010
[6] S. A. Hathaway; K. McEachern; R. N. Fisher: Terrestrial Forest Management Plan for Palmyra Atoll: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1007, 78 p. 2011
[7] Milen Marinov; Warren Chin; Eric Edwards; Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[8] Milen Marinov; Odile Fossati-Gaschignard; Martin Schorr: On a dragonfly collection from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands and Paea, Tahiti (French Polynesia) with taxonomic discussion of some Polynesian genera (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-east Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 18: 1-12. 2016

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ischnura-aurora-df

Photo: Dennis Farrell; by courtesy of Dennis Farrell

http://thaiodonata.blogspot.com

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edited: 18.01.2017

Cordia subcordata Lam.

Kou (Cordia subcordata)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Tongareva
Fiji: Beachcomber Island; Beqa, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Mabualau, Macuata, Makaluva, Matuku, Moala, Monuriki, Moturiki, Nanuya Lailai, Nasoata, Navo, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wakaya, Yadua Taba, Yanucalailai
Gambier Islands: Akamaru, Kamaka, Mangareva, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Ni’ihau
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Birnie Island, Enderbury Island, Flint Island, Howland Island, Karoraina, McKean Island, Malden Island, Manra, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Rawaki, Starbuck Island, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands (?): Henderson Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Ofu (?), Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Moorea, Mopelia, Motu One, Tahaa, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Oneata, Onevai, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Fakarava, Makatea, Manihi, Mataiva, Matureivavao, Mururoa, Niau, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takume, Tenarunga, Tikehau, Vahanga
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: ‘Uvea

local names:

bakanawa – Fiji
ilima – Kiribati
kanava – Tokelau; Nui, Vaitupu / Tuvalu; Futuna, ‘Uvea / Wallis & Futuna
kanave – Nukunonu / Tokelau
kiripoa – Tuamotu Archipelago
kou – Hawai’i Islands
man’ao – Rotuma / Fiji
marupua – Tuamotu Archipelago
motou – Niue
nawanawa – Fiji
pua – Tuamotu Archipelago
pua taukanave – ‘Eua / Tonga
taiuli – Olohega / Tokelau
tauanave – Samoa
te kanawa – Kiribati
tou – Austral Islands; Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Tongareva / Cook Islands; Marquesas; Society Islands; Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
wakanava – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

~~~

The kou is an about 7 to 15 m tall tree with a broad densely leaved crown.

This species occurs over a wide geographical range, as it can be found on the islands of the Indian Ocean up to almost all of the islands in the Pacific Ocean. In Polynesia this species can be found on all island groups, except for New Zealand and Easter Island.

The wood of the tree was (and still is) used for various carvings, and also for the production of canoes or paddles, as long as a large enough tree could be found.

On the Hawai’i Islands the tannin-containing leaves were used to dye bark cloth tan, but also to colour fishing lines, to make them less visible to the fishes. In Kiribati again the leaves were primarily used as pig fodder.

The bright orange flowers are often used for floral wreaths, and the seeds have been eaten in times of famine.

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cordia-subcordata-rt

Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai

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

cordia-subcordata-akk1

floral wreath, made of kou flowers

Photo: Dr. Angela K. Keppler; by courtesy of Dr. Angela K. Keppler

http://www.pbif.org

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edited: 19.09.2016