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The Atoll of Funafuti, Ellice group : its zoology, botany, ethnology and general structure based on collections made by Charles Hedley of the Australian Museum, Sydney, N.S.W.

[IV.] — The Insect Fauna

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The Insect Fauna.

Among the memoranda handed to me by Mr. Hedley in connection with the insects collected at Funafuti, the following remark occurs:—"The collection brought back does scanty justice to the Entomological fauna of Funafuti, whose claims were, I fear, unduly subordinated to the demands of the Marine Invertebrata, the spiders being the only group whose proportions are at all fairly represented."

Small as the collection is, however, it is not by any means devoid of interest, for while there are individuals amongst it that are well known to Entomologists, there are also some that are new. Indeed, it would be strange if it were not so, when we consider the rich fields awaiting the labours of systematic workers among the islands of the Pacific, that are, as yet, comparatively untouched. And it must also be borne in mind, that the fauna of the islands comprising the various groups—of which the Ellice Group is one—-is of a more or less derived nature—that is to say, the fauna of any one island or group can scarcely be considered as appertaining solely to it, but must be studied from a much broader standpoint, not only as regards the distribution of the genera, but also of the species. Thus, for instance, amongst the beetles, Sphenophorus sulcipes, Karsch, originally recorded from the Marshall Islands* was obtained by Mr. Hedley at Funafuti; and amongst the butterflies Junonia vellida, Fabr., also obtained by Mr. Hedley, is not only common in the Ellice Group, but also at the Gilbert Islands, and coming nearer home—Australia. Then there are the mosquitoes—Megarrhina inornata, Walk., being found both in New Guinea and the Ellice Islands. Being-possessed of this knowledge, therefore, it is only reasonable to

* Berlin. Ent. Zeit., xxv., 1880, p. 11, p1. i., fig. 16.

Proc. Zool. Soc., 1878, p. 297; Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist. (5), xv., p. 258.

Geogr. Journ. vi., 4., 1895, p. 348.

page 90assume that a systematic collection would bring to light other facts of an interesting nature, and demonstrate clearly that the insect fauna of one island or group is only more or less the reflex of another. In his valuable paper on "The Gilbert Islands,"* Mr. 0. M. Woodford says, in endeavouring to account for the insect fauna he found there:—

of the insect fauna, the scorpions, spiders, most of the beetles, Evania appendigaster, the ants, the blatta, and the earwig, were most probably conveyed to the islands by ships.

The remaining insect fauna, comprising the butterflies, eleven moths, three species of hymenoptera, one of the hemiptera, the locusta and the dragon-flies, were probably wind-borne, and I think that such of them as are not of almost cosmopolitan range most probably reached the group through the Marshalls.

of the two species of butterflies, Junonia vellida is generally distributed throughout the Pacific Islands, but Hypolimnas rarick, so far as I know, although found in the Marshalls, does not extend further to the south-east than the Gilbert Group.

The eleven species of moths taken by Woodford during his visit to the Gilbert Islands in 1884 were :—(1) Chrerocampa erotoides,(2) Cephonodes hylas, (3) Deiopeia pulchella,(4) Pro-denia retina, (5) Amyna oeto,(6) Heliothis armigera,(7) Catephia linteola, (8) Archcea melicerte,(9) Remigia translata,(10)Marasmia creonalis, and(11)Chloanges suralis. The latter insect was described by Mr. Butler as a new species, under the name of Mar-geronia woodfordi, but he has since identified it with Chloanges suralis of Zeller.

Of these Mr. Woodford remarks:—"Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 may be said to be cosmopolitan, extending throughout the East generally, and to the more remote islands of the Pacific from Australia to Tahiti.

  • " No. 2, Cephonodes hylas, is also found in West Africa, South Africa, Natal, North India, Moulmein, Moreton Bay, and Japan. Being a very handsome and conspicuous insect, it would not be likely to escape observation; but I never observed it in the Solomons nor in Fiji, so that its range into this group was most probably through the Marshalls.
  • " No. 9, Remigia translata, is recorded from Ceylon, and from the Marshall Islands. I also met with this insect in the Ellice Group.

    * Loc. cit., p. 349.

    Geogr. Journ., vi., 4, 1895, p. 348; also Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5), xv., pp. 238-241.

    Geogr. Journ., vi., 4, 1895, pp. 349-350.

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  • "No. 11, Chloanges suralis, occurs in Amboina, in the Marshalls, and Mr. Matthew took it in the Ellice Group. Its food plant occurs commonly in Fiji, but I never noticed the insect there, nor is it recorded among the extensive collection made there by Mr. Matthew. I did not notice it in the Solomons.

"It would appear probable, therefore, that the three last-named species have reached the Gilberts via the Marshall Group."

In the Gilbert Group, Dr. 0. Finch collected the following moths:—Sesia mylas, Sphinx urotus, and Utetheria pulchella*

While upon the subject of the Heterocera, it will be of interest to point out that Deiopeia pulchella was recorded by Butler, in "Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London," 1878, among a small collection of Lepidoptera obtained by the Rev. J. S. Whitmee at the Ellice Islands; also a worn example of a widely distributed moth, Achcea melicerte. Amongst those moths obtained by Mr. Woodford as having been obtained by him at the Gilberts in 1884, and recorded by Butler in "Annals and Magazine of Natural History," 5th Series, "Vol. xv., pp. 239-242, the following were also taken at Nukufetau, in the Ellice Group:—Deiopeia pulchella, Amyna octo, Remigia translata, Erilita modes-talis, Rinecera mirabilis, and Ilarpagoneura complexa.

* Ann. K.K. Naturhist. Hofmus., viii., 1893, p. 22.