Figure 3: UV light traps for nocturnal
insects (Photo: Apaitia Liga)
Figure 4: Terrestrial insect survey sites within the project area
To effectively sample moths, manual collections were conducted for the first two
hours after dusk. A bucket trap was set up and operated in the center of a 2 m x 2 m
white sheet which was spread on the ground at the collection site. Moths that flew
towards the light and onto the white sheet were collected in killing jars charged with
Beetles and other nocturnal insects were passively sampled overnight on each
sampling occasion. Insect specimens were sorted to Order and then to Family level.
Specimens are currently being curated, catalogued and stored at the South Pacific
Regional Herbarium, USP.
Leaf litter surveys
Leaf litter surveys were conducted targeting different habitat types (i.e. river flats,
slopes and ridges) in the lowland and upland vegetation types. Quadrats of 1m
were laid at 10 m intervals along a 50 m transect. Leaf litter from each quadrat was
sieved through 12 mm mesh sieves and transferred into Winkler bags (Figure 5). The
Winkler bags were hung out for at least 48 hours to allow drying of the leaf litter.
Insect specimens were stored in ethanol for further sorting and identification.
Figure 5: Winkler bags filled with leaf litter (Photo: Apaitia Liga)
Opportunistic encounters- Lepidoptera (butterflies) and Odonates (damselflies)
Butterflies and damselflies were opportunistically collected within open grassland
and riparian areas along creeks and streams using handheld nets. Voucher
specimens were taken for identification.
Identification and curation
Identification of specimens was carried out with the aid of available taxonomic
references for each of the main groups; butterflies and moths (Waterhouse, 1920;
Robinson, 1975; Prasad and Waqa-Sakiti, 2007), dragonflies and damselflies
(Donnelly, 1990; Van Gossum et al.
, 2006) and beetles (Lawrence and Britton
Results and discussion
The results of the insect survey at each site are provided in Appendix 4. A total of
eighteen Coleopteran (beetle) families were sampled from within the entire study
area. The most abundant taxa sampled included the beetle families Curculionidae
(weevils) and Staphylinidae (rove beetles) and from the Order Hymenoptera, Family
Formicidae (ants). Rare beetle families Lampyridae (lightning bug) and Passalidae
(bess beetles) were also encountered in the surveys. The diversity of the target taxa
Coleoptera and the family Formicidae are a good indication that ecosystem services
such as soil processing, decomposition, herbivory, pollination and seed dispersal
within the study areas are still intact.
A total of 522 moth individuals belonging to seven families, 36 genera and 40 species
were collected. Of the collected macromoth species, 50% are endemic to Fiji. The rate
of endemism of macromoth species collected at each of the four sites ranged from
25% to 67%.
The site with the highest diversity in terms of macromoth species was the lowland
rainforest of Delaikoro (<600 m), having a total of 24 macromoth species belonging to
six families. Mt. Sorolevu was the least diverse site with a total of twelve species
from three families (Table 1)
Table 1: Summary of the moth data collected from the four nocturnal survey sites.
Number of macro-
Sorolevu - Savusa
A detailed checklist of the moths collected during this survey is provided in
Appendix 4. There are two new records of macromoths for Vanua Levu and these
include Luxiaria sesquilinea
and Hypena rubrescens
, both from the Noctuidae family.
The latter, Hypena rubrescens
is a new species, recently described by Clayton (2010)
who only has records of its collection from Viti Levu.
Other endemic, uncommon or rare forest macromoths species include Gnathothlibus
(Sphingidae), Calliteara nandarivatu
(Lymantriidae), Sasunaga tomaniiviensis
(Noctuidae), and Tholocoleus astrifer
(Figure 6) is a rare butterfly, endemic to the Fiji islands. It is a
montane species and lives in rainforests. It is often found in or near pristine
mountain areas, usually in semi-open areas along streams leading up to the
mountains. Its presence and abundance has also proven to be a very good indicator
of the pristine nature of the rainforest system.
Hypolimnas inopinata has so far been only recorded on Viti Levu, its extant
populations are in the forests of Navai and Nasoqo (Ra Province), Waisoi,
Wainavadu and Saliadrau (Namosi Province), Naikorokoro (Rewa Province) and
Emalu (Navosa Province). The sighting of H. inopinata on two occasions along the
Waicacuru stream, Sorolevu (Figure 4, survey points 48 and 49) is the first record for
Vanua Levu. This habitat consists of primary lowland forest and is an ideal habitat
for H. inopinata.
Figure 6: Hypolimnas inopinata (Photo: Apaitia Liga)
Hypena rubrescens (Figure 7) is an endemic species, described in 2010. It has been
previously recorded only from Viti Levu (Savura and Namosi). This is the first
record for Vanua Levu, found within the lowland forests of Delaikoro (Figure 4, site
Figure 7: Hypena rubrescens, Noctuidae (Photo: SPRH)
Luxiaria sesquilinea (Figure 8) is a rare and endemic moth, usually restricted to
primary forests. It has been previously recorded on Viti Levu (Serua, Suva, Naqali,
Nausori highlands, Nadarivatu, Vunidawa, and Namosi) and Levuka (Ovalau). This
is the first record for Vanua Levu found within the Waisali native forest reserve
(Figure 4, site 26).
Figure 8: Luxiaria sesquilinea Noctuidae (Photo: SPRH)
Cotylosoma dipneusticum (Fig 6
) is a rare endemic stick insect, previously recorded
only from Taveuni and Viti Levu (Nakorotubu range, Emalu forests and Savura
Forest Reserve). Two specimens of this species were sampled each from intact
upland forests within Sorolevu perched on Balaka seemannii
and another within
Waisali Forest Reserve on the bark of Timonious affinis
(dogo ni vanua) (Figure 4,
sites 8 and 29).
Cotylosoma dipneusticum, a rare endemic stick insect
is another rare and endemic stick insect, previously recorded
only on Viti Levu (Nakorotubu Range). It was first recorded in 1908, the type
specimens are currently housed in the Vienna Museum and the locality data on the
specimens only mention SW Pacific, Fiji with no specific locality data. This will be a
first record for Vanua Levu from within the primary upland Sorolevu forests (Figure
4, site 11). From previous observations, these two species of stick insects have been
known to be closely associated with intact forest systems.
Discussion and recommendations
The survey collections yielded a good diversity of insects, suggesting that the
ecosystem services provided by the abundant and diverse Coleoptera (beetles, 18
families), Formicidae (ants) and macromoths (7 families, 40 species) are well
represented, and that the forests systems remain intact.
The primary lowland forest of Sorolevu harbours three of the five focal species
recorded from this survey i.e. H. inopinata, C. dipneusticum and P. inermis. These three
focal species have proven to be excellent indicators of the good status and health of
the forest system which suggests the same for Sorolevu. Waisali Forest Reserve was
also interesting in that it recorded the greatest diversity of macromoths of the three
sites (i.e. 18 species) with a high endemism rate of 66.67% followed by Sorolevu with
twelve species and an endemism rate of 58. 33%.
Increased sampling efforts is required for the Delaikoro lowland and upland
sites to ascertain the true status of the forest health and more comparable to
the Sorolevu and Waisali sites.
Further surveys need to focus on H. inopinata to locate other populations on
Vanua Levu. It will also be interesting to conduct a study on the population
genetics of this species to ascertain the status of the Vanua Levu
Alivereti Naikatini and Senivalati Vido
Fiji’s bats play an essential role as seed dispersing agents, major pollinators, and
insect control agents in the rainforest and other terrestrial ecosystems (Palmeirim et
al., 2007). Bats are the only native terrestrial mammals of Fiji and six species occur in
Fiji, four of which are native and two endemic (Flannery, 1995; Palmeirim et al.,
2007). Four bat species are listed as threatened (Palmeirim et al., 2007). Bats are
poorly studied in Fiji in terms of ecological research and there is little public
awareness of their role and importance.
Like bats, birds are also very important indicators of the forest health. They are also
seed dispersers, pollinators and insect control agents. There are 68 species of land
birds found in Fiji, eleven of which are introduced species. Native and endemic
species are expected to be found in greatest numbers in a pristine forest system.
The Greater Delaikoro Area has been a focus area for bird and bat surveys in Vanua
Levu in the past. A notable survey was carried out in 1974 in the Delainacau
Mountains (South West of Mt Delaikoro) where the only known record of
Trichocichla rufa clunei was taken. This sub-species of the Endangered Long-legged
Warbler is endemic to Vanua Levu, and the area is now designated an Important
Bird Area for Fiji. No further sighting has been recorded since 1974.
Other recent bird surveys carried out in the Greater Delaikoro Area were by Birdlife
Fiji while carrying out the IBA (Important Bird Area) project for Fiji in from 2000 to
2005, and by PhD student Michael Andersen who collected bird samples in the
Waisali Reserve in 2008. Previous bat surveys in the area have been conducted by
Ruth Utzurrum’s team from American Samoa, studying the status of Pteropus
samoensis in 2001 and also by Jorge Palmeirin in 2003-2004 while reviewing the status
of the bats of Fiji. A recent detailed bat study was conducted in the Waisali Forest
Area from 2009 to 2011 by PhD student Annette Scanlon.
The main objectives of this survey were to:
provide a checklist of all avifauna species (birds and bats) present in the
Greater Delaikoro Area,
highlight species that are of conservation importance (focal species),
provide preliminary abundances of species present.
The survey methods used in the survey were:
Point count method (for both bats and birds)
Mist netting in open high areas for bats at night and birds in the early
Bat detector surveys in the evenings
Interviews with local communities
The point count method was the most commonly used method to survey for the bats
and birds. It was only carried out in the morning and afternoons when birds are
more active. Counts in a point were restricted within a 50 m radius for a period of
five minutes according to an established methodology for a rapid survey (Naikatini,
2009). Stations were not randomly located, due to the rugged terrain of the area, but
were placed along tracks and accessible areas. To maximise the size of the area
covered, points were placed at least 200-400 m apart. This was also done to minimise
the likelihood of double counts. Each morning or afternoon session would last two
to four hours depending on the weather.
Figure 10: The location of the focal bat species, Pteropus samoensis and P. tonganus, in the study area
Figure 11: Location of bird survey points within the study area
All birds detected within the 50 m radius area were recorded and GPS locations
noted. The total number of points, birds and species recorded were tabulated and
analysed to give the relative abundance or density of each species. Surveys of fruit
bats were done opportunistically during the project. A TrakaBat was used in
evenings depending on places where we camped to track for presence of micro-bats
overnight. The TrakaBat was prepared and set up in the early evening around 7pm
and then retrieved in the morning and the data downloaded onto a computer to
determine if any passing bats were detected overnight.
Opportunistic surveys were also conducted whilst travelling from one point station
to another, or whilst travelling within the area from one base camp to another.
Interviews with the local guides were carried out on some evenings. Local guides
knew the area well, including where the main bat roosts are located, and the species
of birds they may have encountered in the area previously.
Results and discussion
In total approximately 230 minutes were spent actively conducting bat and bird
surveys, and over 36 hectares were covered using the point count method. A total of
46 point stations were surveyed during the ten days of survey. These point stations
(Figure 11) were located in different sub-habitat types found with the main
vegetation systems; lowland rainforest (<600 m), and upland-cloud rainforest (600-
A total of 27 species of land birds and three species of bats were recorded in the
study site, and these are listed in Appendix 6. Identifications were verified using a
published field guide (Watling, 2001). A table of the location and habitat of each
station and a summary of the species diversity and bird abundance is provided in
Of the 27 species of land birds recorded, all were native species and no exotic species
was recorded; 24 of these species are endemic to Fiji with nine of the 24 species being
restricted only to Vanua Levu and nearby islands (Appendix 1). The area surveyed is
part of the Wailevu/Dreketi Highlands Important Bird Area (IBA X) covering an area
of 720 km² (Masibalavu and Dutson, 2006)
Eight avifauna species have been recorded from the Greater Delaikoro Area
previously, which are considered focal species, based on their rarity (Appendix 8).
Five of these were recorded during the current survey also, the three exceptions
being the Long Legged Warbler, the Friendly Ground Dove and the Black-faced
The Long Legged Warbler, classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List (Birdlife
International, 2012) was not recorded in this survey as we did not survey the
Delainacau area, which is the only place it has been documented. However, we did
survey areas in Waisali and Mt Sorolevu that have a similar habitat and climate to
the Delainacau area but were unsuccessful, perhaps because these areas have been
subjected to some form of disturbance from logging in the past. Other bird species
like the Friendly Ground Dove and the Black-faced Shrikebill were not recorded in
this survey, which like the Long-legged Warbler are sensitive species that tend to
disappear with the encroachment of disturbances like logging and other forest
Generally bird diversity and abundance during the survey was low. The only IUCN
Red List species documented was Pteropus samoensis
. The only CITES-listed species
recorded were the Tongan flying fox, the Pacific Harrier, the Collared Lory and the
Fiji Goshawk. This would probably be due to the fact that the survey time was fairly
short and the actual area surveyed was quite small. It also has to be noted that most
of the places surveyed during the trip were areas that were easily accessible, which
have been subjected to some form of disturbance in the past like logging, thus
affecting the results and not giving a true picture of the intact forest system.
Three species of bats were recorded throughout the survey; Pteropus samoensis, the
Samoan flying-fox, P. tonganus the Pacific flying-fox and Notopteris macdonaldi, the
Fijian Blossom Bat (Figure 10).
Pteropus samoensis is listed on the IUCN Red List as near threatened (Brooke and
Wiles, 2008) and N. macdonaldi as vulnerable (Palmeirim, 2008). P. tonganus was rare,
not commonly encountered and no roost was recorded in the study area. Likewise
P. samoensis was also rare and only recorded in the forested areas near Mt Sorolevu.
The local guides also said that there were no big roosts of P. tonganus in the survey
area. There was no Notopteris macdonaldi roost found either, despite the fact that this
species was commonly caught whilst mist-netting in the Mt Delaikoro Area. Like the
bird surveys, the bat survey was not extensive due to time constraints. A more
comprehensive bat survey is needed for the future in this area, to mark out roosting
areas for these three species of bats. This would be very important information to
obtain if this site is proposed as a protected area in the future.
To better understand the ecology and abundance of the avifauna of the Delaikoro
Area there is a need to carry out more quantitative surveys in the more intact
forested areas. This will enable us to get better population estimates, which will be
useful for long-term monitoring. The area of the survey is quite large and there
needs to more detailed surveys covering as much of the area as possible. A more
rapid survey approach is needed for the bat survey in the near future to record
locations of bat roosts in the study area or nearby before carrying out quantitative
Conservation should be a priority and logging should not be permitted in this area if
you take into account the true value of the site in terms of its ecosystem function,
biodiversity, cultural and spiritual importance, all of which are invaluable
Nunia Thomas and Jone Lului
Previous herpetofauna surveys conducted in Vanua Levu have documented the
presence of twenty one species, of which eight are endemic, ten native and three
introduced (Morrison, 2003; Morrison et al.
, 2004). Significant finds in Vanua Levu in
the past are the rediscovery of the endemic and endangered Fiji ground frog,
(Morrison et al.
, 2004) and the discovery of an endemic species of
skink, Emoia mokosariniveikau
(Zug and Einech, 1995). To date, herpetofauna
distribution on Vanua Levu is data deficient and this survey contributes to updating
the herpetofauna list and mapping their distribution on Vanua Levu. The objectives
of this baseline herpetofauna survey were to:
identify ideal herpetofauna habitats within the Greater Delaikoro Area
employ different herpetofauna survey methods to generate a species checklist
for the Greater Delaikoro Area.