Tag Archives: Mangareva

Ducula tihonireasini Rigal, Kirch & Worthy

Mangarevan Imperial Pigeon (Ducula tihonireasini)

This species was already known from subfossil remains for several years when it was described in 2018.

The Mangarevan Imperial Pigeon apparently was still alive when the first Europeans set foot on the Gambier Islands in the 1820s.:  

Of the feathered tribe, oceanic bird form the greater part; but even these are rare compared with the numbers that usually frequent the islands of the Pacific, arising, no doubt, from the Gambier Islands being inhabited. The whole consist of three kinds of tern, the white, black, and slate-coloured – of which the first are most numerous, and the last very scarce; together with a species of procellaria, the white heron, and the tropic and egg birds. Those frequent the shore are a kind of pharmatopus, curlew, charadrine, and totanus; and the woods, the wood-pigeon, and a species of turdus, somewhat resembling a thrush in plumage, but smaller, possessing a similar though less harmonious note.” [1]

It died out sometimes later.

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References:

[1] Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, to co-operate with the polar expeditions : performed in His Majesty’s ship Blossom, under the command of Captain F. W. Beechey in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley 1831
[2] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

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edited: 04.05.2021

Minidonta simulata Solem & Cooke

Gambier Islands Minidonta Snail (Minidonta simulata 

This species was described in 1976.  

The species was originally known from specimens that had been collected on the islands of Agakuitai, Aukena and Mangareva, Gambier Islands, but was subsequently found on Akamaru and Taravai too. [1][2]  

The shells are quite large for the genus, reaching about 0,24 to 0,29 cm in diameter. [1]  

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References  

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976 
[2] Olivier Gargominy; Benoît Fontaine: A Global Overview of the Terrestrial and Freshwater Molluscs. In: Jean-Yves Meyer; Elin. M. Claridge: Biodiversity of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia. Muséum national d´Histoire naturelle, Paris. 55-91. 2014  

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edited: 05.10.2017

Gambiodonta mangarevana Solem & Cooke

Mangarevan Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta mangarevana)

The Mangarevan Gambiodonta Snail was described in 1976 based on only six specimens, two adults and four juveniles, that had been collected in 1934 on the island of Mangareva, Gambier Islands.

The species is quite similar to the Domed Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta tumida Cooke & Solem) but smaller, its shells reached average sizes of about 0,45 cm in diameter. [1]

***

The species occurred also on the small island of Taravai, next to Mangareva Island, where its subfossil shells were discovered during field searches in 1997. [2]  

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Noveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints de l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystea 22(4): 689-707. 2000

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edited: 19.04.2019

Nesiocina gambierensis Richling & Bouchet

Gambier Islands Nesiocina Snail (Nesiocina gambierensis)  

This species was described in 2013 based on only 11 highly eroded and worn specimens that were found on three islands of the Gambier Islands group.  

The species was the smallest member of its genus, the tiny shells are only about 1,5 to 1,8 cm in diameter.  

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[1] Ira Richling; Philippe Bouchet: Extinct even before scientific recognition: a remarkable radiation of helicinid snails (Helicinidae) on the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 2433-2468. 2013  

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edited: 10.10.2017

Minidonta extraria Cooke & Solem

Strange Minidonta Snail (Minidonta extraria)  

This species was described in 1976 based on three specimens, each found on another island of the Gambier group respectively.  

The shells reached sizes of about 0,27 to 0,3 cm in diameter.  

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References:  

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976 
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000  

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edited: 05.10.2017

Acrocephalus astrolabii Holyoak & Thibault

Mangareva Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus astrolabii)

The Mangareva Reed Warbler is one of the most enigmatic birds that we know of, despite being known from two specimens; their origin was unknown for a very long time but they are now strongly believed to have indeed been collected on the Gambier Islands. [4]

The species reached a size of about 17 cm; it was uniformly warm brown colored, slightly darker dorsally, it had rather robust, stout legs and a very long, straight beak. 

***

The Mangareva Reed Warbler is mentioned briefly in a little description of Mangareva’s native bird life that was made in the middle of the 19th century.:

Of the feathered tribe, oceanic bird form the greater part; but even these are rare compared with the numbers that usually frequent the islands of the Pacific, arising, no doubt, from the Gambier Islands being inhabited. The whole consist of three kinds of tern, the white, black, and slate-coloured – of which the first are most numerous, and the last very scarce; together with a species of procellaria, the white heron, and the tropic and egg birds. Those frequent the shore are a kind of pharmatopus, curlew, charadrine, and totanus; and the woods, the wood-pigeon, and a species of turdus, somewhat resembling a thrush in plumage, but smaller, possessing a similar though less harmonious note.” [1]

***

The Mangareva Reed Warbler may have disappeared sometimes after but was still known by the inhabitants of the Gambier Islands.: 

She [the daughter of the Chief of the island of Taravai] has not seen the “Komaku” herself, but her father, the Chief, has. He gave us the name and says he saw them about thirty or forty years ago.” [2]

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Depiction from: ‘Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History: Voyage of the ‘France’ from Timoe Atoll to the Mangareva Islands; Voyage to Marutea. April 25 – May 14, 1922. Extracts from the Journal of Ernest H. Quayle; Assistant Field Naturalist. Book XXV through Book XXVIII. April 1 – June 24, 1922’ 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

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It is possible that the Mangareva Reed Warbler somehow managed to survive to the middle 19th century at least on the tiny motus (coral islets) that build the fringe reef surrounding the island of Mangareva.:

Signalons aussi qu’une fauvette fut observée sur l’îlot Tepapuri en 1971 (Thibault, 1973b). Ce dernier oiseau, blanchâtre dessus et brun dessous, devait être un erratique de la forme habitant, les atolls au nord des Gambier, A. caffer ravus.“ [3]  

translation:  

Note also that a warbler was observed on Tepapuri islet in 1971 (Thibault, 1973b). This last bird, whitish above and brown below [I’m quite sure that it should be exactly reversed], must have been an erratic of the form inhabiting the atolls north of the Gambier, A. caffer ravus.” 

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References:

[1] Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, to co-operate with the polar expeditions : performed in His Majesty’s ship Blossom, under the command of Captain F. W. Beechey in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley 1831
[2] Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History: Voyage of the ‘France’ from Timoe Atoll to the Mangareva Islands; Voyage to Marutea. April 25 – May 14, 1922. Extracts from the Journal of Ernest H. Quayle; Assistant Field Naturalist. Book XXV through Book XXVIII. April 1 – June 24. 1922 
[3] D. T. Holyoak; J.-C. Thibault: Contribution à l’étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Mémoires du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle 127(1): 1-209. 1984 
[4] Alice Cibois; Jean-Claude Thibault; Eric Pasquet: Molecular and morphological analysis of Pacific reed warbler specimens of dubious origin, including Acrocephalus luscinius astrolabii. Bulletin on the British Ornitologists’ Club 131(1): 32-40. 2011

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edited: 12.01.2024

Pterodroma sp. ‘Mangareva’

Small Mangarevan Petrel (Pterodroma sp.)

There might once have been a population of small petrels closely related to Cook’s Petrel (Pterodroma cookii (G. R. Gray)) and Stejneger’s Petrel (Pterodroma longirostris (Stejneger)) breeding on the island of Mangareva, Gambier Islands in eastern Polynesia.

This assumed species is known only from the remains of a single bird, merely from a single wing.:

I went to top of Mangareva island and found a body of Ducie shearwater eaten by cat (?) on hillside, near top.” [1]

These remains were then brought to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, USA, where they were investigated in the 1990s and found to very likely constitute some distinct form.:

The only remains of this bird is a wing in a museum collection (AMNH, label no. 191743). It belongs to a small petrell: the wing pattern, as well as size, suggest that it is a Cookilaria, possibly close to P. leucoptera; it may represent a specimen of an extinct or an unknwon population. No evidence of the presence of such a pop- ulation (e.g. vocalisation) was obtained in 1995–96 during at least 10 nights on Mangareva.” [2]

***

The first account mentiones that the bird was most likely eaten by a cat, this little mention tells us more or less all about the fate of this species, if it indeed was a distinct species.

There are several seabird species known to have once bred on Mangareva, most are now gone, some still breed on the little islets around the main island, but most are now gone fore good.

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References:

[1] Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. Extracts from the journal of Rollo H. Beck. Vol. 1, Sept. 1920 – June 1923
[2] Jean-Claude Thibault; Vincent Bretagnolle: Breeding Seabirds of Gambier Islands, Eastern Polynesia: numbers and changes during the 20th century. EMU 99: 100-107. 1999

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edited: 12.03.2020

Gambiodonta mirabilis Cooke & Solem

Miraculous Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta mirabilis)

The Miraculous Gambiodonta Snail was described in 1976 based on 39 specimens that had been collected in 1934, 4 on the islet of Aukena and 35 on Mangareva Island, Gambier Islands.

The shells reached average sizes of 0,5 to 0,58 cm in diameter. [1]

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976

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edited: 19.04.2019

Minidonta flammulina Abdou & Bouchet

Flammulated Minidonta Snail (Minidonta flammulina 

This species was described in 2000 based on subfossil specimens that were collected near Gahutu Tenohu at the north coast of Mangareva, Gambier Islands, at a site covered with introduced wees and Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera L.).  

The shells reach an average size of about 0,29 cm in diameter, they are covered with regularly spaced rusty-colored markings. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000  

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edited: 05.10.2017

Nesiocina mangarevae Richling & Bouchet

Mangarevan Nesiocina Snail (Nesiocina mangarevae 

This species was described in 2013, it is only known from empty, subfossil specimens that were collected in 1997 on the islands of Mangareva and Taravai, Gambier Islands.  

The shells reach sizes of 0,21 to 0,24 cm in diameter, they are whitish to yellowish and glossy.  

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[1] Ira Richling; Philippe Bouchet: Extinct even before scientific recognition: a remarkable radiation of helicinid snails (Helicinidae) on the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 2433-2468. 2013  

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edited: 10.10.2017

Monarcha gamberianus (Lesson)

Mangareva Monarch (Monarcha gamberianus)

The Mangareva Monarch is a very hypothetical species; there may once have been a specimen, collected on the island of Mangareva, Gambier Islands, and there may also have been a drawing of that specimens. Both are now lost, for whatever reasons.

There is now only the description of this bird.:

Cette pie-grièche est fort voisine du Lanius tabuensis de Latham. Comme elle, on la trouve dans le mer du Sud, et c’est aux îles Gambier qu’elle vit. Cette espèce a les formes courtes et trapues. Elle mesure 14 centimètres. Ses ailes sont presque aussi longues que laqueue; son bec est peu crochu, bien que denté; il est noiràtre ainsi que les tarses; tout le plumage en dessus, les ailes et la queue sont d’un brun olivàtre uniforme; le devant du cou, à partir du menton jusqu’au haut de la poitrine, est olivàtre foncé; tout le dessous du corps, depuis le haut du thorax jusqu’aux couvertures inférieures, est du jaune le plus vif et le plus égal; les plumes tibiales sont brunes, mais cerclées d’une sorte de jarretiere jaune à d’articulation le dedans des ailes est varié de jaune et de blanc, ce qui forme un rebord étroit, blanc dessous du fouet de l’aile; la queue est légèrement échancrée, et le sommet des rectrices présente un point jaune.

Translation:

This shrike is very close to Lanius tabuensis [Aplonis tabuensis (Gmelin)] of Latham. Like this, it is found in the South Sea, and it lives in the Gambier Islands. This species has a short, squat form. It measures 14 centimeters. Its wings are almost as long as the tail; the beak is slightly hooked, but dentate; it is black as well as the tarsi; all the plumage above, the wings and the tail are uniformly olive brown; the front of the neck, from the chin to the top of the breast, is dark olive; the whole lower part of the body, from the top of the thorax to the lower coverts, is the liveliest and most even yellow; the tibial feathers are brown, but circled in a sort of yellow, hinged garter, the underside of the wings is varied with yellow and white, forming a narrow, white rim beneath the whip of the wing; the tail is slightly forked, and the top of the rectrices are dotted yellow.

This description clearly relates to a starling, and in fact, the Mangareva Monarch might well actually have been a Mangareva Starling instead.

I’ll mention the whole story here only because I find it very intriguing.

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References:

[1] R.-P. Lesson: Catalogue descriptif des oiseaux nouveaux, rares ou peu connus, de la collection Abeillé. L’Écho du monde savant et l’Hermès: journal analytique des nouvelles et des cours scientifiques. 1844 pt. 2: 232

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edited: 07.05.2022

Gambiodonta agakauitaiana Solem & Cooke

Agakauitai Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta agakauitaiana)

This species was described in 1976 based on specimens that had been collected in 1934 on the small islet of Agakauitai which lies about 300 m south of Mangareva, Gambier Islands.

The shells reached sizes of 0,39 to 0,4 cm in dimater. [1]

***

The species was originally only known from the small islet of Agakauitai, but subfossil shells were discovered in 1997 on the islands of Mangareva and Taravai, the two largest of the Gambier Islands, as well. [2] 

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Noveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints de l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystea 22(4): 689-707. 2000

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edited: 19.04.2019

Minidonta perminima Abdou & Bouchet

Small Minidonta Snail (Minidonta perminima 

This species was described in 2000 based on subfossil shells that were found at Gahutu Tenohu at the north coast of Mangareva, Gambier Islands, at a site covered with introduced herbs and Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera L.).  

The shells reach an average size of about 0,16 cm in diameter. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000  

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edited: 05.10.2017

Minidonta micra Solem & Cooke

Minute Minidonta Snail (Minidonta micra)  

This species was described in 1976 based on specimens that had been collected in 1934 from a cave on the tiny islet of Aukena in the Gambier group.  

The shells are very small, only about 0,16 to 0,19 cm in diameter. [1]  

***

The species was originally known only from Aukena, but other specimens were subsequently found on the islands of Akamaru, Mangareva and Taravai as well. [2]  

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References:  

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976 
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000  

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edited: 04.10.2017

Gambiodonta pilsbryi Cooke & Solem

Pilsbry’s Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta pilsbryi)

This species was described in 1976 based on 88 specimens that had been collected in 1934 near the Gahutu Bay (often referred to as Ganhutu) on the island of Mangareva, Gambier Islands.

The shells reached average sizes of 0,45 to 0,53 cm in diameter. [1]

***

There are also 79 specimens collected in 1934 on the islet of Aukena, 5 km southeast of Mangareva which originally were described as a distinct subspecies (Gambiodonta pilsbryi ssp. aukenensis Cooke & Solem), but this classification was later rejected. [1][2]

The species also occurred on the islet of Agakauitai, offshore Mangareva Island, where subfossil shells were recovered during field searches in 1997. [2]

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Noveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints de l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystea 22(4): 689-707. 2000

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edited: 19.04.2019

Anceyodonta soror Solem

Soror Disc Snail (Anceyodonta soror)  

The Soror Disc Snail was described in the year 1976, the specie was originally known only from the island of Mangareva but empty shells assignable to this species were also found on nearby Akamaru island in 2000. [2]  

The shell reaches sizes of averagely 0,22 to 0,3 cm in diameter.  

The Soror Disc Snail is now extinct like almost all endemic or native land snail species of the Gambier Islands.  

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References:  

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976 
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Nouveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints da l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystema 22(4): 689-707. 2000

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edited: 10.09.2020

Gambiodonta tumida Cooke & Solem

Dome-shaped Gambiodonta Snail (Gambiodonta tumida)

The Dome-shaped Gambiodonta Snail was described in 1976 based on 33 specimens that had been collected in 1934 on the island of Mangareva, Gambier Islands.

The shells reached average sizes of 0,58 to 0,64 cm in diameter. [1]

***

The Dome-shaped Gambiodonta Snail was originally known only from specimens collected on the island of Mangareva alone, however, further subfossil shells were later discovered on the islets of Aukena and Taravai, offshore Mangareva Island as well. [2]

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References:

[1] Alan Solem: Endodontoid land snails from Pacific Islands (Mollusca: Pulmonata: Sigmurethra). Part I, Family Endodontidae. Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois 1976
[2] Ahmed Abdou; Philippe Bouchet: Noveaux gastéropodes Endodontidae et Punctidae (Mollusca, Pulmonata) récemment éteints de l’archipel des Gambier (Polynésie). Zoosystea 22(4): 689-707. 2000

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edited: 19.04.2019

Achyranthes mangarevica Suessenguth

Mangarevan Chaff Flower (Achyranthes mangarevica)  

The Mangarevan Chaff Flower, which was discovered in the year 1934 at the Mt. Mokoto at an elevation of about 290 m, in contrast to most other species of its genus was not a shrub but a small tree, and could reach a height of up to 5 m.  

The local names of the plant were PukawapuatarataraTarake, and Teone pa akura.  

The species was most closely related to the still extant Marquesas Chaff Flower (Achyranthes marchionica F. Br.) from the Marquesan Islands.  

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References:  

[1] K. Suessenguth: Amaranthaceae of southeastern Polynesia. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 12(2): 1-10. 1936  

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edited: 31.10.2017