Elatostema samoense Reinecke

Elatostema samoense

Distribution:

Samoa: Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu

local name: –

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The Samoan flora contains about 12 to 14 species from this genus, which all are endemic to the islands.

The genus, however, appears to be in need of a revision.

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Deudorix doris Hopkins

Samoan Cornelian (Deudorix doris)

The adult has a wingspan of about 3 cm, the forewings are black with the so-called cell fiery red colored, the hindwings are of the same red color for about a third of their area.

The males appear to be much commoner than females, but these may just hide in the forest canopy, where they are quite difficult to observe. [1]

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The caterpillars are thought to feed on fruits of native tree species including Elaeocarpus spp. and Hernandia spp.. [2]

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References:

[1] G. H. E. Hopkins: Insects of Samoa and other Samoan terrestrial Arthropoda. Part III. Lepidoptera, Fasc. 1. Butterflies of Samoa and some neighboring island-groups. London 1927
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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female and male

Depictions from: ‘G. H. E. Hopkins: Insects of Samoa and other Samoan terrestrial Arthropoda. Part III. Lepidoptera, Fasc. 1. Butterflies of Samoa and some neighboring island-groups. London 1927’

(public domain)

Astronidium pickeringii (A. Gray) Christoph.

Astronidium pickeringii

Distribution:

Fiji: Ovalau
Samoa: Olosega, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu

local names: –

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References:

[1] J. F. Maxwell; J. F. Veldkamp: Notes on the Astronieae (Melastomataceae) – II. Astronidium, Beccarianthus. Blumea 35: 115-165. 1990

Orobophana musiva (Gould)

Mosaic Orobophana Snail (Orobophana musiva)

This species was described in 1847, it is found in Fiji, in Samoa, and obviously in Tuvalu as well.

The Mosaic Orobophana Snail is found under decaying vegetation at low elevations, very often near the coast.

It is a very small species, the shells reach heights of only about 0,2 cm, they vary in color from several shades of yellow and orange to reddish-brown.

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References:

[1] Robert H. Cowie; Rebecca J. Rundell: The land snails of a small tropical island, Aunu’u, American Samoa. Pacific Science 56(2): 143-147. 2002

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.

Dendrobium sladei J. J. Wood & P. J. Cribb

Dendrobium sladei

Distribution:

Fiji: Viti Levu
Samoa: Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu

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

Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. & G. Forst.) Seem.

Pisonia umbellifera

Distribution:

Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Rarotonga
Fiji: Aiwa, Koro, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yagasa
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Eua

local names:

daiga – Fiji
papala – Hawai’i Islands
papala kepau – Hawai’i Islands
para para – Cook Islands
raro – Vanua Levu / Fiji
roro – Vanua Levu / Fiji

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 2. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1981

Boehmeria virgata (Forst. f.) Guillemin

Boehmeria virgata

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa
Fiji: Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Samoa: Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga

local names:

ake – Tahuata / Marquesas
dogosele – Fiji
dredre – Fiji
kalolo – Fiji
kaulolo – Fiji
ona – Tahuata / Marquesas
pute – Marquesas
rabe – Fiji
rabi – Fiji
roa – Raiatea / Society Islands
tautau – Fiji
vairoa – Tahiti / Society Islands

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 2. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1981

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.

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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

Sphenarches bilineatus Yano

Two-lined Feather Moth (Sphenarches bilineatus)

The Two-lined Feather Moth, which is closely related to the Indopacific Feather Moth (Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker)), was described in the year 1963.

The species, which reaches a wingspan of about 1,5 cm, is occurs obviously exclusively in Samoa.

The biology of this species is hitherto completely unknown.

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References:

[1] Koji Yano: Notes on South Pacific Pterophoridae (Lepidoptera). Pacific Insects 5(4): 849-871. 1963
[2] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998