the native plants and animals of Hawaiʻi

Mokoliʻi — Chinaman’s Hat — is home to native seabirds

Manu-o-Kū

White Fairy Terns or Manu-o-Kū are amazing fliers that often hover in mid-air.

Estuary at Kāneʻohe Bay

Kanehoalani and Ohulehule tower over a shallow estuary on the shores of Kāneʻohe Bay

Happyface Spider

A happyface spider — nananana makakiʻi (Theridion grallator) tends to its eggs

Misty Rain at Sunset

Ua noe — gentle misty rain — filters the light at sunset in the northern Koʻolau Mountains

Konahuanui

ʻIeʻie and hapuʻu thrive at the twin peaks of Konahuanui – the highest peaks on the Koʻolau

Kāhuli Tree Snails

Endangered kāhuli or Oʻahu tree snails — Achatinella sowerbyana — crawl over an ʻōhiʻa branch.

Hibiscus clayi — Kokiʻo ʻula

I love to visit Kalopā State Park to see Hibiscus clayi — kokiʻo ʻula — which has the cutest little red flowers. For many years I have been visiting Kalopā in Hamakua on Hawaiʻi Island  to see a number of rare native plants in cultivation.  One of most...

Scotorythra Moth in Haleakalā Crater

I was thrilled to get close-up shots of a cute little Scotorythra moth in Haleakalā Crater on the island of Maui. While backpacking through Haleakalā Crater, we were lucky when entomologist Steve Montgomery found a Scotorythra moth outside the Palikū Cabin where we...

Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bees

I was thrilled to stumble on Hawaiian yellow-faced bees — nalo meli maoli — on lehua flowers on Hawaiʻi Island.  The native bees are small — less than a quarter inch long — and look more like black-brown wasps that have a yellow face. Honey...

Hawaiian Carnivorous Caterpillar — Eupithecia

One of the amazing denizens in the Hawaiian forest is the carnivorous caterpillar Eupithecia.  Eupithecia is a large genus of moths with over a thousand described species worldwide whose caterpillars feed on plant material.  But when the moths found their way to...

Cyanea crispa in the Koʻolau Mountains

One of the rare flowers found only on Oʻahu is Cyanea crispa or Haha.  Known as the Crimpled Rollandia, the plant grows up to 5 feet high with large broad leaves that form a crown at the top of the plant several feet in diameter. The plant was discovered by famous...

ʻAkoko Planthopper in the Koʻolau Mountains

One of the oddest native Hawaiian insects is the ʻakoko planthopper which has a distinctive nose almost as long as the bug itself. The tiny winged creature — Dictyophorodelphax swezeyi —  is about 5 mm long — slightly larger than an ant.  The insect...

Cyanea truncata in the Koʻolau Mountains

Among the rarest plants in the Hawaiian Islands is Cyanea truncata — Haha — which can be found in the Koʻolau Mountains of Oʻahu. Cyanea truncata grows 3-4 feet high and is found in dense native forests.  The plant produces large broad leaves up to 18...

Birth of a Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup!

Honeygirl gave birth to a Hawaiian Monk Seal baby on February 25, 2015 — the first known pup born in the main Hawaiian Islands for the 2015 birthing season.  The pup was female — a cute baby girl.  I visited the seals 4 times over the almost 7 week period...

Koliʻi in the Koʻolau Mountains

One of spectacular flowers found in the Northern Koʻolau Mountains of Oʻahu is Koliʻi — Tremtolobelia macrostachys — which often grows as an epiphyte on other plants in the native landscape. According to Joseph Rock, who wrote the monograph on the Hawaiian...

Native Flightless Conehead Katydid

While hiking in the Waiʻanae Mountains we stumbled on an unusual katydid with a distinctive black face. Cory Yap found the inch long insect which remained remarkably still as we snapped photos from all angles.  We were fortunate to have Sam Gon III with us who...

Lobelia oahuensis in Bloom

One of the amazing sights found only on Oʻahu are the spectacular flowers of Lobelia oahuensis. For the past 5 years I have been monitoring a handful of Lobelia oahuensis plants to see when they would bloom.  Imagine my excitement when I saw an impressive 4 foot...

Hawaiian Sphinx Moth

We were thrilled when Ryan Chang spotted a really cool brown, white, and orange moth — the native Hawaiian Sphinx Moth. The Hawaiian sphinx — Hyles calida — is an endemic sphingid moth found on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaiʻi.  There...

Cyanea humboldtiana in the Koʻolau Mountains

One of the rare flowers found only on the island of Oʻahu is Cyanea humboldtiana. Cyanea humboldtiana is endemic to the Koʻolau Mountains of Oʻahu and is known as the Koʻolau Rollandia.  Rollandia was once a separate genus under the Hawaiian Lobeliad Group but genetic...

Ariamnes Spiders in the Hawaiian Islands

I stumbled on this really cool metallic golden spider on the Big Island! Earlier this year, Francis Joy and I went to Hawai’i Island to see what interesting critters we might find.  During one of our nocturnal explorations on the slopes of Mauna Kea at Kalopā...

Lobelia gaudichaudii in the Koʻolau Mountains

One of the amazing things to see in the Hawaiian biota are the spectacular flowers of Lobelia gaudichaudii. Lobelia gaudichaudii is endemic to the Koʻolau Mountains of Oʻahu and is known as the Koʻolau Range Lobelia or Gaudichaud’s Lobelia.  The plant was...