Last year, CHAC undertook its first Biology Expedition to Fiji where, in conjunction with Operation Wallacea, ecological surveys were undertaken on the island of Vanua Levu. While the 24 students and three staff were there, many species of birds, plants and insects were captured and identified.
One of our students, Tom Warren, took a photograph of a previously undescribed species of Swallowtail Butterfly. During this year’s season, Operation Wallacea had a major focus on capturing this butterfly with the aim of describing it as a new species. While initially it was problematical to catch the butterfly, it was caught and successfully described. It has now been named as Papilio natewa. It is exciting as there has not been a new species of swallowtail butterfly identified for the past 50 years.
Operation Wallacea has thanked all schools involved in the 2017 surveys for their endeavours. Our 2019 Expedition will return to the same area, the Natewa Peninsula. Further work continues on aiming to get agreement to install a predator-proof fence to the peninsula so the invasive Mongoose species can be removed. This should result in an ecological boom for the native fauna.