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.

*********************

References:

[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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

*********************

edited: 18.01.14

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.).

*********************

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

*********************

euploea-l-eschscholtzii-dhg

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

http://www.parfaitimage.com

Aidia racemosa (Cav.) Tirveng.

Aidia racemosa

Distribution:

Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Uta Vava’u
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local name: –

Geniostoma rupestre J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.

Geniostoma rupestre

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rapa, Rurutu (?)
Fiji: Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Nasoata, Nayau, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Waya
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Pou
New Zealand: Great Barrier Island; Kapiti Island; North Island; Aorangi Island (Poor Knights Islands); Rangitoto Island; South Island; Manawa Tawhi Island, South West Island (Three Kings Islands); Tiritiri Matangi Island
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Mo’orea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Ha’apai, Kao, Motutapu, Onevai, Tafahi, Tofua, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

age – Rurutu / Austral Islands
ange – Rapa / Austral Islands
faipuu – Society Islands
hangehange – New Zealand
taipoipoi – Samoa

~~~

The species is split into several varieties, of which at least four occur within the Polynesian region, Geniostoma rupestre var. crassum (Cheeseman) Conn (endemic to New Zealand), Geniostoma rupestre var. glaberrimum (Benth.) Conn (most parts of Polynesia, especially French Polynesia), the nominate Geniostoma rupestre var. rupestre (western Polynesia), and Geniostoma rupestre var. tongense (A. C. Sm. & Stone) Conn (Fiji, Niue and Tonga).

Many of these varieties include synonyms that formerly were treated as distinct species. [1]

*********************

References:

[1] Barry J. Conn: A taxonomic revision of Geniostoma Subg. Geniostoma (Loganiaceae). Blumea 26: 245-364. 1980

*********************

geniostoma-r-v-rupestre-tt

nominate variety

Photo: Tavita Togia
http://www.inaturalist.org/people/tavita_togia2016

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

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.

*********************

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

*********************

pandanus-tectorius-fks

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

*********************

edited: 13.02.2017

Hypolimnas antilope (Cramer)

Yellow Eggfly (Hypolimnas antilope)

This species occurs in Southeast Asia and Australia, the subspecies discussed here (Hypolimnas antilope ssp. lutescens (Butler)) occurs from Melanesia up to West Polynesia.

The butterfly reaches a wingspan of up to 8 cm, and is mainly dark ochre-brown in color, and bears some lighter spots on all four wings.

The caterpillars feed, among other things, on the leaves of the Hairy Pipturus (Pipturus argenteus var. lanosus Skottsb.).

*********************

References:

[1] 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
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

*********************

hypolimnas-a-lutescens-sh

Foto / Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

*********************

edited: 28.01.2017

Cenchrus caliculatus Cav.

Cenchrus caliculatus

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa
Cook Islands: Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Fiji: Batiki, Fulaga, Gau, Kabara, Koro, Mago, Matuku, Nairai, Ovalau, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wakaya
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Mangareva, Manui, Motu Teiku
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Nuku Hiva
New Zealand: Raoul Island (Kermadec-Inseln)
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island (ex)
Samoa: Savai’i (ex), Tutuila (ex), ‘Upolu (ex)
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiti, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Nomuka, Tofua, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Makatea

local names:

parango maori (?) – Miti’aro / Cook Islands
piripiri – Society Islands

Maniltoa grandiflora (A. Gray) Scheffer

Maniltoa grandiflora

Distribution:

Fiji: Kanacea, Koro, Nayau, Ogea Driki, Ogea Levu, Ovalau, Taveuni, Totoya, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Wakaya
Tonga: ‘Eua, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u

local names:

cibicibi – Fiji
moivi – Fiji
namo – Fiji
togatu – Fiji
yamo – Fiji

*********************

References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 3. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1985

Nacaduba dyopa (Herrich-Schäffer)

Owl-spotted Blue (Nacaduba dyopa)

The Owl-spotted Blue occurs with at least two subspecies from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in Melanesia to western Polynesia, where the nominate race is known from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 1,9 to 2,5 cm. The underwings are greyish brown peppered with numerous white bands, the very large and conspicuous hindwing ocelli are prominently outlined in iridescent blue-green.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of Dendrolobium umbellatum (L.) Benth., a widespread coastal tree.

*********************

References:

[1] G. E. Tite: A synonomic list of the genus Nacaduba and allied genera (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 13(4): 67-116. 1963
[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

*********************

nacaduba-dyopa-mob

Photo: Mark O’Brian

(under creative commons license (4.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

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

~~~

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.

*********************

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

*********************

hoya-australis-savaii-sh

Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

*********************

edited: 11.10.2016