Pacific Science Volume 58, Number 4, 2004

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Pacific Science is a quarterly publication devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the Pacific Region.

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    Distribution of the Chuuk Islands Giant Millipede, Acladocricus setigerus (Spirobolida: Rhinocricidae), and Identification of Its Defensive Compounds
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-10) Buden, Donald W. ; Attygalle, Athula ; Wu, Xiaogang
    The spirobolidan millipede Acladocrieus setigerus (Silvestri, 1897) grows to at least 155 mm long and is so far known only from Chuuk Islands, Micronesia. It occurs mainly in well-shaded habitats, usually on the forest floor and on tree trunks. It sprays defensive secretions from paired, lateral ozopores on trunk segments; the major compounds, identified here for the first time, are benzoquinones. The secretion stains human skin a reddish brown and causes a slight burning sensation, occasionally followed by slight blistering and exfoliation.
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    A Prehistoric, Noncultural Vertebrate Assemblage from Tutuila, American Samoa
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-10) Steadman, David W. ; Pregill, Gregory K.
    Ana Pe'ape'a is a small cave on the southern shore of Tutuila, American Samoa. Excavations at Ana Pe'ape'a yielded 13,600+ bones of small vertebrates, dominated (>95%) by the nonnative Pacific Rat, Rattus exulans. Represented in the owl-derived bone deposit are two species that no longer occur on Tutuila, the Pacific Boa (Candoia bibroni) and the Sooty Crake (Porzana tabuensis). Based on bone counts, C. bibroni was the second most common species at the site. The third most common, the Sheath-tailed Bat (Emballonura semicaudata), is extremely rare on Tutuila today. Compared with bone records in nearby Tonga, we believe that the deposit at Ana Pe'ape'a, with a radiocarbon date of A.D. 445 to 640, is at least 1,000 yr too young to be dominated by extinct species.
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    New Hyocrinid Crinoids (Echinodermata) from Submersible Investigations in the Pacific Ocean
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-10) Roux, Michel
    A few specimens belonging to the deep-sea family Hyocrinidae (stalked Crinoidea, Echinodermata) collected by submersible in the eastern and western Pacific Ocean are described. Laubierierinus pentagonalis, n. genus, n. sp., from the North Fiji Rise is the first discovery of a hyocrinid crinoid with a pentaradially symmetrical stalk. Hyocrinus biscoitoi, n. sp., from the East Pacific Rise attains large size and has close affinities with H. giganteus from Horizon Seamount. Additional information is given concerning H. foelli found near cold seeps on the Mexican continental margin; H. cyanae, previously collected on New Caledonian slopes; and Calamoerinus diomedae from the Cocos Ridge and Galapagos slopes. For the latter, the first young specimens known document ontogenetic trends in this famous species.
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    Population Size and Natural History of Mariana Fruit Bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) on Sarigan, Mariana Islands
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-10) Wiles, Gary J. ; Johnson, Nathan C.
    Based on count results, we estimated the population of Mariana fruit bats (Pteropus mariannus Desmarest) on Sarigan, Mariana Islands, to number 150-200 bats in 1999, 185-235 bats in 2000, and about 300-400 bats in 2001. Our results, plus those of two previous surveys, indicate that bat abundance on the island probably remained relatively stable at about 125-235 animals during much of the period from 1983 to 2000, then increased suddenly in 2001, most likely due to immigration from a neighboring island. Sarigan's population differs from those of larger islands in the archipelago by usually having smaller roost sizes, typically 3-75 bats, and large numbers of solitary bats that at times comprise up to half of the population. Colonies and smaller aggregations were composed primarily of harems with multiple females, whereas a nearly equal sex ratio occurred among solitary animals. Colonies roosted in isolated coconut trees in open grasslands and in native forest stands of various sizes, but avoided dense coconut forest. An estimated 30-50% of harem and solitary females possessed young in July 1999. Bats were recorded feeding on just six species of plants, which partly reflects the island's impoverished flora. We speculate that fruit bat abundance on Sarigan is limited primarily by food availability rather than hunting losses, in contrast to some other islands in the Marianas. Our study supports the contention that populations of P. mariannus in the northern Marianas are usually sedentary, but that interisland movements of larger numbers of bats may occur rarely.
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    A Pygmy Blue Whale (Cetacea: Balaenopteridae) in the Inshore Waters of New Caledonia
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004-10) Borsa, Philippe ; Hoarau, Galice
    The occurrence of a blue whale is reported for the first time for the New Caledonian archipelago. The whale, a juvenile male in poor condition, entered the shallow inshore waters of the coral reef lagoon (220 19-24' S, 1660 46-52' E) where it spent at least 1 month until it was killed by whaler sharks on 27 January 2002. Live observations, examination of photographic documents, and skull osteology indicated that this was a pygmy blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda. Nucleotide sequences of PCR-amplified fragments of its mitochondrial DNA were determined and compared with the few published homologous sequences of North Atlantic blue whales, B. m. musculus, but no obvious differences were apparent.
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