Miocalles sp. 'Tarakoi'


 
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Tarakoi Miocalles Weevil
(Miocalles sp.)

 
syn. -

 
distribution:

Austral Islands: Tarakoi (Rapa)

 
local name: -

 
size: (?)

extinction date: after 1985

 
The genus Miocallus consists of one hundred and forty (currently known) species and has produced at least sixty-seven (hitherto described) species on the island of Rapa alone, more than in anyplace else. Perhaps several additional forms will still be discovered in the future.

These beetles, obviously flightless throughout, reach body sizes of just about 0,1 to 0,3 cm, thus are very diminutive.

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The Tarakoi Miocalles Weevil was discovered in the year 1985 by G. Paulay on the small islet of Tarakoi, lying offshore Rapa's north east coast in the Austral archipelago.

Just a short time after G. Paulay's visit, however, goats were released onto the island, as it has happen on nearly all of Rapa's offshore islands. These goats destroyed within a few years almost the entire native vegetation. The goats have meanwhile been removed from the island, but yet they left behind an completely naked landscape, in which only a single plant species was to be found, an introduced grass species, called Molasses Grass (Melinis minutiflora). Additionally people have set multiple fires to clear land for crops.

In later surveys none of the  native insect species was ever found again.

 
References:

- R. A. Englund: Report for the 2002 Pacific Biological Survey, Bishop Museum Austral Islands Expedition to Raivavae and Rapa Iti. Prepared for Délegation à la Recherche (Ministère de la Culture, de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche), Papeete, Tahiti, Polynésie Française. 2003-04