Correspondent Wildlife Photos

by Greg Mayer

A correspondent who visited Hawaii in December, 2019, sends in the following from Haleiwa, on the north shore of Oahu. I believe these are from Waimea Valley, where there is a botanical garden.

First up is a Hawaiian Gallinule, Gallinula galeata sandvicensis. This is an endemic subspecies of a widespread species. On remote islands, land and freshwater birds, like the gallinule, have higher levels of endemism than sea or shore birds. The latter are accustomed to flying great distances, and thus have higher levels of interbreeding among populations, which retards differentiation.

Gallinula galeata sandvicensis, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii, December 2019

Remote islands are also very vulnerable to establishment by introduced species, and here’s a combo. That’s a giant day gecko, Phelsuma madagascariensis, from Madagascar, on top of a sign for a neotropical orchid, Myrmecophila tibicinis. The orchid has a mutualistic relationship with ants. (Its generic name means “ant lover”.) The gecko, brought in with the pet trade, is well established in Oahu. The orchid may not be established, but just a specimen in the botanical garden.

Phelsuma madagascariensis, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii, December 2019

And finally, high up on a palm, is an anole. This is probably Anolis sagrei. This species was introduced from the U.S. mainland. It was introduced to the U.S. mainland from Cuba. So it’s on the second leg of its travels!

Anolis sagrei, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii, December 2019

6 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    That is a large gecko.

  2. JezGrove
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    “Through holes which have evolved for that purpose” – no intelligent designer required.

  3. Dominic
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting. I note galinules on lots of islands, Pacific & Atlantic. Many rare or extinct. Well I suppose rate would be expected on an island.

  4. Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Very good! And what big feet that Gallinule has! All the better to walk on lily pads, I assume.

  5. Posted May 6, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Those feet are impossible! Great photos.


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