Did you know a single ʻōhiʻa tree can be home to hundreds of different animals? You may be familiar with ʻapapane and ʻiʻiwi and other honeycreepers that rely on ʻōhiʻa for nectar. So do Pulelehua, one of two native butterflies in Hawaii. Native yellow-faced bees also seek ʻōhiʻa for nectar while moths mine leaves, lay eggs in lehua buds, and ingest nectar, too.
A whole bunch of other invertebrates utilize ʻōhiʻa in various ways.
There’s the Kauaʻi Flightless Katydid. Known only in high elevation ʻōhiʻa forests of Kauaʻi, as the name implies, these green katydids are flightless and munch on dead flies and beetles, crushing them with their impressive jaws. During courtship, males rub the edges of their wings together, producing a high-pitched song to attract females.
Speaking of flightless, have you ever heard of the Kauaʻi Flightless Stag Beetle? They belong to the only genus of scarab beetles native to Hawaii. These rare dull black beetles grow to adult size of one-half to three-quarters of an inch and survive in high-elevation koa – ʻōhiʻa forests in Kokeʻe State Park, usually in soil and logs.
Then, there are spiders. Hawaiʻi has, at least, 132 native species of spiders. One genus, the Long-jawed spider, is noted for the spectacular ability to adapt to different ecosystems and microhabitats, resulting in numerous different species ranging in size, color, shape, and behavior. One unique adaptation is that some species have abandoned web-spinning and adopted a wandering hunting lifestyle.
And let’s not forget Hawaiʻiʻs only terrestrial native mammal, opeʻapeʻa, or the Hawaiian hoary bat, that roosts and nests in ʻōhiʻa.
Deepen your love of native plants and animals by joining the growing trend of nature journaling. This workshop will include a mini science lesson and various prompts for non-scientists, non-artists and/or non-writers. No experience necessary except paper and pencil and a curious mind. We’ll welcome wonder, soak in a little science, and make some marks and/or notes on paper. Most of all, we’ll slow down and connect with the forest for a few hours.
This event is brought to you by Kim Rogers with Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee (KISC) and Michelle Clark, biologist, with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This is a special treat, as Michelle is well-versed in the native flora and fauna (think invertebrates) of Kaua’i. Did you know there are hundreds of native butterflies, bees, and beetles that inhabit our ʻōhiʻa forests? Maybe weʻll see a couple. But we’ll, for sure, encounter numerous different native plant species on a very accessible and easy-to-hike trail.
Join us on Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokeʻe State Park. Registration is limited. Sign up here.