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 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...

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 —...