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.

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...

Koa Bugs in the Hawaiian Islands

I was thrilled when Aaron Miyamoto invited me to his home to photograph koa bugs. For nearly six months, koa bugs (Coleotichus blackburniae) had become almost an obsession. I learned that koa bugs seem to prefer formosan koa trees (Acacia confusa) — a tree...

Pinao — Giant Hawaiian Dragonfly — on O‘ahu

I was lucky to get some close up shots of the Piano or Giant Hawaiian Dragonfly — Anax strenuus. Also known as the Giant Hawaiian Darner, the dragonfly is said to be the largest in the United States.  The dragonfly has a wing span of about 4 inches which is...

Misumenops Spiders in the Hawaiian Islands

We found a couple of Misumenops spiders endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. For the past several months, Francis Joy — better known as Jay — my spidering buddy  — and I have been looking for endemic Hawaiian spiders in remote parts of the island. Photo...

Cyclosa Spiders in the Waiʻanae Mountains

I stumbled on a cute little round spider in the mesic forests of the Waiʻanae Mountains. While hiking though the Waiʻanae Kai Forest Reserve, an unusual spider web less than an inch across caught my attention.  The web was on the topside of an ʻalaʻa leaf —...

Native Philonesia and Elasmias Snails

I saw Philoneisa and Elasmias snails in the native forests on the slopes of Mount Kaʻala. Known as pupu kuahiwi — literally “mountain shell” — in Hawaiian, the snails live in the native forests and are arboreal. Philonesia snails are about a...

Akoko Planthoppers in the Native Forests

We searched the native forests of Oʻahu to look for ʻakoko planthoppers, a curious-looking insect with a distinctive horn on its forehead longer than the bug itself. The Hawaiian Islands are home to 22 species of ʻakoko — Chamaesyce — 15 of which are...

Kamehameha Butterflies in the Koa Forests

For the past several months I have been hiking to the koa forests of Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island to look for Kamehameha Butterflies. Kamehameha Butterflies (Vanessa tameamea) are one of only two butterfly species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.  Known as “Lepelepe...

Koa Moth Explosion on Hawaiʻi Island

When I heard that a population explosion of koa moths was defoliating thousands of acres of koa forests on Hawaiʻi Island I had to see for myself. The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced on February 14, 2013 that an outbreak of koa looper moths was...

Hawaiian Stilt Breeding Season

For the past several months I have been looking for Aeʻo or Hawaiian Stilts in the marshes and wetlands of windward Oʻahu. The Hawaiian Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) or Aeʻo in Hawaiian, is one of five subspecies of Black-Necked Stilt.  Eons ago, a flock of...

Baby Kāhuli in the Native Forest

I hiked in the Mokuleʻia Forest Reserve to see kāhuli or Oʻahu tree snails crawling on the native vegetation. During the night the temperature dropped to the low 60’s and rain fell intermittently on our campsite at about 2,200 feet elevation.  When I got up at...

Koa Butterflies on ʻIliahi Flowers

I hiked along the rim of Makua Valley where I saw dozens of koa butterflies sipping the nectar of ʻiliahi flowers. I attended the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club’s 3-day Mokuleʻia Campout where backpackers hike the Kuaokoala Trail, Mokuleʻia Access Road, and...

Kahuku Beach Cleanup

I joined the community effort to pick up trash and plastic debris from the stretch of beaches from Turtle Bay Resort to Kahuku Golf Course. When one of my endangered species buddies — Angela Huntemer — put out the word that help was needed to clean trash...