7 Fascinating Insects of Fiji

Common NameScientific Name
ImageCommon NameLocatedEnvironmental - ColourWingspan
Blue tiger butterfly.Dark Tiger - Danuas hamataWidespread on the larger islands in FijiA distinctly black and white butterfly7 cm
HypolimnasbolinaGreat Eggfly - Hypolimnas bolinaWidespread across FijiSuburban gardens. Males and females differ considerably with the wings of females being duller and lacking the spots10 cm
Polyura caphontis.Fijian Emperor - Polyura caphontisViti Levu & Taveuni - EndemicTree tops usually restricted to forest and the forest margin.7 cm
Doleschallia bisaltide.Autumn Leaf - Doleschallia bisaltideLarger islands of FijiWhen its wings are closed over its back resembles an old dried up leaf. When it flies, a rich orange upper surface is revealed7 cm
Natewa Swallowtail.Fiji Swallowtail - Papilio schmeltzii
long tailed blue butterflyLong tailed Blue - Lampides boeticus
Butterflies Fiji Insects Complete GuideMonarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus
Precis villidaMeadow Argus - Precis villida
ImageCommon NameLocatedSizeColour
Paracupta sulcataJewel Beetle - Paracupta sulcataViti Levu, Taveuni and Vanua Balavu in the Lau GroupDamatic display of metallic green and powder yellow stripes.Whether this beetle is actually poisonous or distasteful to potential predators is not known - Rare
giant fijian longhorn beetle from close up macro giant fijian long horned beetle 1Giant Fijian Long horned Beetle - Xixuthrus herosEndemic to Viti Levu10 cm long excluding the antennae, which are another 7.5 cm.Chocolate brown colour.
Paracupta flaviventris.Jewel Beetle - Paracupta flaviventris
Weevil Rhinoscapha lagopyga.Weevil - Rhinoscapha lagopyga
No ImageJewel Beetle - Agrilus sp
width=150Jewel Beetle - Paracupta spmetallic blue and powdery yellow stripes
width=150Jewel Beetle - Cyphogastra abdominalis

Fijian Name: Nanai

Raiateana knowlesi (was first described by Distant in as Tibicen knowlesi) is endemic to Fiji

Distribution: Known to occur from pares of the Serua and, Nadroga/ Navosa provinces on the main island of Fiji,Viti Levu.

Nanai make their appearance in countless millions.Their life above ground lasts just a few weeks, early on when the eggs are laid deep in tree branches and later on as young nymphs within the first year, before falling and burrowing into the ground for next 7 long years. On the eighth year, around the beginning of wet season it is believed, rising temperatures signals the Nanai to move upwards above ground. Millions of Nanai emerge during this season but only for one to two months at the most It is a brief and noisy invasion of the forests, but an event awaited eagerly by villagers in the Serua and Nadroga/Navosa province of Viti Levu who consider the Nanai a delicacy for gourmets.


Periodic emergence where adults emerge once every eight years. Cicadas go through an incomplete metamorphosis where immature stages called nymphs look very similar to adults but lack wings and
reproductive structures. After a series o f molts, the final mole to adulthood occurs with the expansion of wings. After mating, the female deposits hundreds of eggs in bark of twigs.V~hen the Eggs hatch, the neon ympl* drop to the ground and burrow into thesoil.

Cultural Significance

Nanai is a sought after food especially in the Navosa province where the adults are collected as they emerge from their final nymphal shells and tied together in chains and cooked.lt is usually cooked in bamboo stems b6hre it is served with coconut milk.The taste is more or less like prawns roasted over charcoal.

Nanai would shelter in trees to protect themselves from predators such as birds, mongoose and snakes. Present, scientific publications indicate that Raiateana knowlesi has only been recorded onViti Levu .The nanai is of great significance to a particular clan in the Navosa Province, where all the chiefly daughters of that particular clan are accorded the title -“Rokonai”.The word”Roko” is a chiefly title given to male and female chiefs in some parts of Fiji.The word”nai” derives from the insece”nanai” which Is a rare delicacy for this clan in the Navosa province.Also, the year of emergence of the Nanai signifies the “yabaki ni saute” i.e. year of plenty from their agricultural produce. Women also use nanai for bait when they go out fishing.

Common NameScientific NameFoundLifespan
NanaiRaiateana knowlesiParts of the Serua and, Nadroga/ Navosa provinces on the main island of Viti Levu2 Weeks
Striped Flutterer Rhyothemis Phylis.Striped Flutterer - Rhyothemis PhylisFlies rather like a butterfly, often gliding and slowly flapping its wings in a manner unusual for a dragonfly.
Grenadier. Agrionoptera Insignis.Grenadier. - Agrionoptera InsignisRed and Green
Green SkimmerGreen Skimmer - Orthetrum SerapiaNarange Creek in Korayanitu National Park
Common Percher Diplacodes bipunctata.Common Percher - Diplacodes bipunctataKorayanitu National Park - yellow colouration, and the males starts yellow but change through orange and red, when they are mature
ImageScientific NameDescription
Macroglossum hirundo vitiensis.Hawk Moth - Macroglossum hirundo vitiensisThis moth's habit of appearing at dusk to dart from blossom to blossom has given this genus its name Hawk Moth. It can be seen feeding at male pawpaw blossoms just before full darkness. This moth's flight is extremely fast. It is widely distributed in Fiji on all islands.
Gnathothlibus erotus eras.Hawk Moth - Gnathothlibus erotus erasThis is a heavy looking moth with a wingspan of up to 90mm. Both male and female look the same. Its red sienna fore wings and bright yellow hind wings make it a very beautiful species. The food plants of the larva are Morinda citrifolia, Pentas lanceolata and Ipomoea alba.
Hippotion celerio.Silver striped Hawk moth - Hippotion celerioOne of Fiji's most common Hawk moths and indeed the whole world. Its larva is the common Horn Worm and is a major pest of 'dalo' (Colocasia esculenta) and tobacco plants. It also attacks sweet potatoes and other plants. This moth has a wingspan of 60 - 80mm and a body length of about 40mm. The mature larva is some 80mm in length, is bright green with a black tail horn, and will have large eyespots on either side of the first abdominal segment and two smaller yellow spots on the following segment.
Psilogramma jordana.Hawk Moth - Psilogramma jordanaThis species is a real beauty of which both male and female are very similar. However, the males are usually larger than the females and sometimes more densely patterned with a deep chocolate colour. The characteristic creamy white colours of both male and female of this species is unusual. This is a relatively large Hawk moth with an average wingspan of 130mm. Something unique and interesting about this species is that it makes a squeaking sound when disturbed.
Common NameScientific Name
Common NameScientific Name
ImageCommon NameDescription
Coconut Stick Insect Mimimata .Coconut Stick Insect - MimimataThe coconut stick insect is the most common stick insect in Fiji, and is unusual among stick insects in having wings, though they are very small and not particularly useful for flying. Females are bright green and about 7 inches (17cm) long, while males are light brown and rather smaller. They spend their lives attached to the rough underside of coconut leaflets.
No ImageUcikau - Phasmid Cotylosoma dipneusticumThe Fijian stick insect is unique to Fiji, and has a ferocious appearance, with rows of vicious-looking thorn-like projections along the sides of its brown blotchy body and legs.
width=150Ucidrau - Phasmid Chitoniscus feejeeanusThe leaf insect is very rare in Fiji, which is at the eastern extremity of its range, They are small – up to 4 inches (10cm) at most – and the body mimics green leaves in shape and colour, down to the presence of veins.
width=150Ucikau Walking Stick - Hermarchus apolloniusThe Giant stick insect is one of Fiji’s largest insects, attaining a length of 12 inches (25cm), particularly fond of guava trees.