Tag Archives: Rapa

Cyanoramphus sp. ‚Rapa‘

Rapa Parakeet (Cyanoramphus sp.)


This species is known from subfossil remains that were found during excavations on the island of Rapa, Austral Islands.

These remains somewhat fill the giant gap in the distribution area of the genus, which is found on the one hand with many species in the western Pacific region (New Caledonia and New Zealand faunal regions) and on the other hand with two species on the Society Islands in central Polynesia.

There are hundreds of suitable island groups and islands between these two areas where not a single member of the genus was ever found. [1]

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The Rapa Parakeet very likely was a ground-dwelling species, like most members of its genus, and was also very likely very tame and thus was probably among the first birds to be eradicated by the first human occupants of the island. [1]

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References:

[1] J. D. Tennyson; Atholl Anderson: Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island. In: Atholl Anderson; Douglas J. Kennett: Taking the High Ground; The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia. In: Terra Australis 37. 105-114. Canberra, ANU E Press 2012

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edited: 08.02.2020

Todiramphus sp. ‚Rapa‘

Rapa Kingfisher (Todiramphus sp.)

The Rapa Kingfisher is yet a hypothetical species that I like to erect based on an account from the 1920s. [1]

This account speaks about the color symbolism of Rapan feather cloaks and says that royal cloaks incorporated dark blue feathers from a bird named “kotokoto”, which was supposed to have been a kingfisher, apparently most likely the Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gertrudae Murphy) [but named Halcyon gambieri in the paper [1]].

I personally think that this is rather unlikely, if the feathers came from any kind of imported kingfisher species, as the paper [1] suggests, then probably not from birds from Mangareva (which were already almost extinct at that time) but even more unlikely from birds from the Niau atoll, which is located far, far away from the island of Rapa. They may, however, have come from the far more closely situated Cook Islands, which harbors more than one endemic kingfisher forms. But there may very well once have been an endemic kingfisher species on the island of Rapa as well, because why not?!

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References:

[1] J. D. Tennyson; Atholl Anderson: Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island. In: Atholl Anderson; Douglas J. Kennett: Taking the High Ground; The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia. In: Terra Australis 37. 105-114. Canberra, ANU E Press 2012

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edited: 08.02.2020

Gallirallus sp. ‚Rapa‘

Rapa Rail (Gallirallus sp.)

This species is known from subfossil remains that were recovered from deposits on the island of Rapa, Austral Islands.

The form apparently was similar yet smaller than the Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis (L.)), like all now extinct Polynesian rails, also this form most likely was completely flightless. [1]

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References:

[1] J. D. Tennyson; Atholl Anderson: Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island. In: Atholl Anderson; Douglas J. Kennett: Taking the High Ground; The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia. In: Terra Australis 37. 105-114. Canberra, ANU E Press 2012

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edited: 08.02.2020

Electrina succinea ssp. orites Cooke & Clench

Smaller Electrina Snail (Electrina succinea ssp. orites 

This subspecies was described in the year 1943 on the basis of specimens, which were collected at the Mt. Perahu at elevations of about 365 to 548 m, and which differ from the nominate race.  

The shells are smaller, thinner, and obviously distinctly colored.  

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References:  

[1] C. Montague Cooke Jr.; William J. Clench: Land Shells (Synceridae) from the Southern and Western Pacific. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 17(20): 249-262. 1943 
[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: 10.09.2020

cf. Ducula sp. ‚Rapa‘

Large Rapa Pigeon (cf. Ducula sp.)

This species is known from several subfossil remains that were recovered from deposits on the island of Rapa, Austral Islands. 

These remains come from a larger species, like a larger Ducula sp., and shows some indications of reduced powers of flight or even flightlessness, which is now known from several extirpated Polynesian pigeon species. [1]

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The sole surviving pigeon species on the island of Rapa today is the Rapa Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus huttoni Finsch), which itself is somewhat aberrant and unusual large for a member of its genus.

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References:

[1] J. D. Tennyson; Atholl Anderson: Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island. In: Atholl Anderson; Douglas J. Kennett: Taking the High Ground; The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia. In: Terra Australis 37. 105-114. Canberra, ANU E Press 2012

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edited: 08.02.2020

Orangia maituatensis Solem

Maitua Orangia Snail (Orangia maituatensis)  

This species was described in 1976, it is endemic to the island of Rapa, Austral Islands, where it appears to be (or have been) restricted to cliffs near Maitua in the southern part of the island, and Mt. Tautautu.  

The shells reach sizes of about 0,38 to 0,44 cm in diameter. [1]  

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The Maitua Orangia Snail was not found during recent field surveys and may be extinct. [2]  

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References:  

[1] A. 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: 18.03.2017

Orangia cookei ssp. cookei Solem

Cooke’s Orangia Snail (Orangia cookei ssp. cookei)  

The genus Orangia contains three species, of which one again, is split into three subspecies; all are endemic to the island of Rapa, Austral Islands; and all were described together in 1976. [1]  

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Cooke’s Orangia Snail is thought to consists of three subspecies, besides the nominate race these are, the Montane Orangia Snail (Orangia cookei ssp. montana Solem), and the Mt. Tautautu Orangia Snail (Orangia cookei ssp. tautautuensis Solem).  

The nominate race is (or rather was) restricted to the vicinity of Mt. Orangi, Mt. Tanga, and Mt. Tepiahu.  

The shells reach sizes of about 0,33 to 0,45 cm in diameter. [1]  

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The Montane Orangia Snail appears to be the sole survivor of its genus, it is the only species that was found during recent field work. [2]  

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References:  

[1] A. 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: 18.03.2017

Opanara caliculata Solem

Mt. Perahu Opanara Snail (Opanara caliculata)

This species was described in 1976 based on several specimens that were collected in 1934; it was inhabiting the native vegetation on the western ridge of Mt. Perahu on the island of Rapa, Austral Islands.

The shells reach sizes of about 0,3 to 0,34 cm in diameter.

This species might now be extinct, it has not been recorded during recent field studies.

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edited: 14.08.2022

Orangia sporadica Solem

Sporadic Orangia Snail (Orangia sporadica)  

The Sporadic Orangia Snail was described in 1976.  

The species is known from 102 specimens which all were collected in 1934. The snails were found hiding under stones in limited quantities at scattered localities.  

The shells reach sizes of about 0,36 to 0,43 cm in diameter.  

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The Sporadic Orangia Snail was not found during the most recent field studies and may thus be extinct. [2]  

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References:  

[1] A. 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: 18.03.2017