Native Flora and Fauna

Welcome to the Native Flora & Fauna section of our website!

Ae‘o - Hawaiian Stilt

Tip: You can find the ae’o on our Kai blend

“The ae’o is a slender wading bird that grows up to 15 inches in length. It has a black back and white forehead, and is white below; the female has a tinge of brown on its back. This endangered species has very long pink legs and a long black bill. The Hawaiian subspecies differs from the North American stilt by having more black on its face and neck, and longer bill, tarsus, and tail.

Habitat & Behavior:
Ae’o use a variety of aquatic habitats but are limited by water depth and vegetation cover. Specific water depths of 13 cm (5 inches) are required for optimal foraging. Nest sites are frequently separated from feeding sites and stilts move between these areas daily. Nesting sites are adjacent to or on low islands within bodies of fresh, brackish, or salt water.

Feeding habitats are shallow bodies of water providing them with a wide variety of invertebrates and other aquatic organisms (worms, crabs, fish). They like to loaf around in open mudflats, sparsely vegetated pickleweed mats, and open pasture lands perhaps because visibility is good and. During the nesting period, incubating pairs may move between the nest site and a foraging area.

Stilts have a loud chirp that sounds like: kip kip kip. The female chirp is lower than the male’s.

Past & Present:
Stilts were historically known to be on all the major islands except Lana’i and Kaho’olawe. As with the other Hawaiian waterbirds, historic numbers are unknown. It is believed that there were about 1,000 of them in the late 1940s.

The ae’o can still be found on all the major islands except Kaho’olawe, but their numbers have not increased by much. It appears that the population has stabilized or slightly increased over the past 30 years. Stilt numbers have varied between 1,100 and 1,783 between 1997 and 2007, according to state biannual waterbird survey data, with Maui and O’ahu accounting for 60-80% of them.

The primary causes of the decline of this Hawaiian native waterbird has been the loss and degradation of wetland habitat and introduced predators (e.g., rats, dogs, cats, mongoose). Other factors include alien plants, introduced fish, bull frogs, disease, and sometimes environmental contaminants.

The ae’o can be seen at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua’i, James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on O’ahu, Kakahai’a NWR on Moloka’i, and Kealia Pond NWR on Maui, as well as other wetlands around the state.

Conservation Efforts:
The ae’o was once a popular game bird, but waterbird hunting was banned in 1939. State and Federal effort in protecting wetlands, enforcing strict hunting laws, educating, and working with private organizations and landowners, play an important role in ensuring the livelihood of the ae’o and many other waterbirds.

The ae’o was listed as an endangered species in 1967 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Hawaiian Waterbirds Recovery Plan was completed in 1978, revised in 1985, and in May 2005 a draft recovery plan was published.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/stilt.html

 

`Ahinahina - Haleakalā Silversword

Tip: You can find the `ahinahina on our Mauna blend

“Argyroxiphium is a small genus of five species in the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Its members are known by the common name of silversword or greensword due to their long, narrow leaves and the silvery hairs on some species. It belongs to a larger radiation of over 50 species, including the physically different genera Dubautia and Wilkesia. This grouping is often referred to as the silversword alliance.

Description
These perennials are endemic to Hawai’i, occurring only on the islands of Maui and Hawai’i in an extremely localized distribution. They are primarily found above 1,500 m (4,900 ft) in elevation in alpine deserts or bogs, indicating an adaptation to low-nutrient soils. The Ka’ū or Mauna Loa Silversword (A. kauense) is the most adaptable: it can be found in rocky lava flows, bogs, and open forest.

They consist of rosette-forming epigeal shrubs or dwarf shrubs. They may consist of a single large rosette (Mauna Kea and Haleakalā silverswords), a short-branched rosette (Mauna Loa Silversword), or spreading with runners (‘Eke Silversword, greenswords). The flower heads consist of a ring of pistillate ray florets around 30 to 600 disk florets. The corolla varies in color from purplish to wine red or yellow, while the anthers are dark. A rosette will grow from 5–20 years before flowering, after which it dies. For those with a single rosette, this means the death of the plant (in contrast, those reproducing by runners rarely flower and may be very long-lived). Because they require cross-pollination by insects, many plants must flower at the same time in relatively close proximity or they will fail to set seed. A significant population must exist for enough to flower each year for pollination to occur.

Despite appearances, they are very closely related to the genus Dubautia. Although some Dubautia are radically different from silverswords, those found in wet forests and alpine deserts clearly grade into the form of silverswords. Hybrids between Argyroxiphium sandwicense and Dubautia menziesii are common in Haleakalā Crater. Although the two species are quite distinct, the hybrids span the entire range of variation between them.

Conservation
Silverswords and greenswords are highly sensitive to disturbance. Their shallow root systems are easily crushed in the boggy soil or loose volcanic cinders they grow in. The succulent leaves are eaten by goats in the dry summits, and pigs frequently disturb the fragile bog vegetation. All species are highly restricted in range, and even those that are protected are vulnerable to catastrophic events. The East Maui Greensword (A. virescens) is apparently extinct, but in 1989 plants were discovered that appear to be hybrids between it and the Haleakalā Silversword.[2] The Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa silverswords both have small populations, but are being cultivated and outplanted in protected areas. The largest population of Mauna Loa Silverswords is in Kahuku, which was recently acquired by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Species

  • Argyroxiphium caliginis C.N.Forbes – ‘Eke Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium grayanum (Hillebr.) O. Deg. – Greensword
  • Argyroxiphium kauense (Rock & M.Neal) O.Deg. & I.Deg. – Mauna Loa or Ka’ū Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense DC. – Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. sandwicense DC. – Mauna Kea Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. macrocephalum (A.Gray) Meyrat – Haleakalā Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium virescens Hillebr. – East Maui Greensword (extinct)”

Source:
http://209.20.75.37/taxa/68284-Argyroxiphium

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Bruegmann, M.M. & Caraway, V. 2003. Argyroxiphium sandwicense. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44157/0

 

‘Ākohekohe - Crested Honeycreeper

Tip: You can find the ‘ākohekohe on our Nahele blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Crested Honeycreeper / Palmeria dolei / ‘Ākohekohe

“The ‘ākohekohe is 7 inches in length and is the largest of the honeycreepers on Maui. It is primarily black, and can appear to be entirely black in poor light, particularly if the bird is wet. The black feathers are tipped with gray on the breast and throat, whitish on the wing and tail tips, and the nape and body is speckled with orange. The ‘ākohekohe gets its name from its ragged white crest above the bill.

Habitat & Behavior:
The boisterous ‘ākohekohe is found in rainforests that are at least 4,200 feet in elevation. It will aggressively chase off native rivals such as the ‘apapane and i‘iwi when competing for food. It usually feeds on ‘ōhi‘a flower nectar but will take nectar fron other native plants, and will eat insects and fruits. The ‘apapane is highly vocal with many different calls.

Past & Present:
Historically, 12 species of forest birds were found on Maui. One of these became extinct in this century and five of them are now endangered, with the ‘ākohekohe being one of them. The Hawaiian landscape today is a drastically modified version of the pristine conditions encountered by the first Polynesians some 1,400 years ago. Habitat degradation and destruction, human exploitation, predation, avian diseases, and competition with introduced species are all factors in the decline of the ‘ākohekohe and many other native forest birds.

‘Ākohekohe were abundant on Maui and Moloka‘i at the turn of the century, and were last seen on Moloka‘i in 1907. During a 1980 forest bird survey on Maui, 415 observations were recorded in an area of about 11,000 acres, ranging from 4,200 feet to 7,100 feet elevation. The total population is estimated at 3,800 birds, and appears to be broken into two major subpopulations separated by the Ko‘olau Gap. The Moloka‘i population is believed to be extinct today.

Conservation Efforts:
The first steps to protect native Hawaiian forests were taken in 1903 when the Hawaiian Territorial Government created the State Forest Reserve system, which provides essential habitat for the survival of all the endangered forest birds on Maui and Moloka‘i. Haleakala National Park, and The Nature Conservancy’s Kamakou and Waikamoi Preserves also provide important habitat for native plants and animals.

The ‘ākohekohe was listed as an endangered species on March 11, 1967, under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The first draft of the Maui-Moloka‘i Forest Bird Recovery Plan was published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1976 and served as a valuable guidance for research on the species. The Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds (2006) recommends continued partnerships with other agencies to protect essential forest bird habitat, continued support in the eradication of introduced plants and animals, habitat management in existing reserves, and enhancement of remaining forest bird habitat.”

Source: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/crestedhoneycreeper.html

This species has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

BirdLife International 2012. Palmeria dolei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106008924/0

‘A‘o - Newell’s Shearwater

Tip: You can find the ‘a‘o on our Lani blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Puffinus auricularis newelli

“The Newell’s shearwater is a medium-sized shearwater measuring 12 to 14 inches with a wing span of 30-35 inches. It has a glossy black top, a white bottom, and a black bill that is sharply hooked at the tip. Its claws are well adapted for burrow excavation and climbing.

Habitat & Behavior:
The Newell’s shearwater or ‘a‘o is a bird of the open tropical seas and offshore waters near breeding grounds. During their nine-month breeding season from April through November, ‘a‘o nest in burrows under ferns on forested mountain slopes. These burrows are used year after year and usually by the same pair of birds. Although the ‘a‘o is capable of climbing shrubs and trees before taking flight, it needs an open downhill flight path through which it can become airborne.

The ‘a‘o primarily feeds on squid and has loud and nasal calls resembling the braying of a donkey and the call of a crow.

Past & Present:
The Newell’s shearwater was once abundant on all main Hawaiian islands. Today, the majority of these birds nest promarily in mountainous terrain between 500 to 2,300 feet on Kaua‘i. This seabird was reported to be in danger of extinction by the 1930s. The introduction of the mongoose, cat, black rat, and Norway rat may have played a primary role in the reduction of ground nesting seabirds such as the ‘a‘o and the ‘ua‘u (Hawaiian petrel).

A second threat to the ‘a‘o is its attraction to light. Increasing urbanization and the accompanying manmade lighting have resulted in substantial problems for fledgling shearwaters during their first flight to the ocean from their nesting grounds. When attracted to manmade lights, fledglings become confused and often fly into utility wires, poles, trees, and buildings and fall to the ground. Between 1978 and 2007, more than 30,000 Newell’s shearwaters were picked up by island residents from Kaua‘i’s highways, athletic fields, and hotel grounds.

Conservation Efforts:
Predator control in key habitat areas, the establishment of Bird Salvage-Aid Stations, translocation, and light attraction studies have been initiated to help save the Newell’s shearwater. Outreach to Kaua‘i’s local community has resulted in people picking up and bringing them to aid stations for care and release, giving the seabirds a chance to live.

The Newell’s shearwater was listed as an threatened species by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975. The Hawaiian petrel and Newell’s shearwater recovery plan was published in 1983.”

Source: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/newellsshearwater.html

This species has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

BirdLife International 2012. Puffinus newelli. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003939/0

 

Honu - Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

Tip: You can find the honu on our Kai blend

Photo Credit: Maui Under Sea Adventures

“The term “green” applies not to the external coloration, but to the color of the turtle’s subdermal fat. The carapace of adult honu is light to dark brown, sometimes shaded with olive, with radiating wavy or mottled markings of a darker color or with large blotches of dark brown.

Habitat & Behavior:
The honu is found world wide in warm seas. In the Pacific United States and its territories, honu are found along the coasts of Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, unincorporated U.S. island possessions, and a small resident group in San Diego Bay, California. Individuals may occasionally be found as far north as Alaska.

The honu occupies three habitat types: open beaches, open sea, and feeding grounds in shallow, protected waters. Upon hatching, the young turtles crawl from the beach to the open ocean. When their shells grow 8-10 inches long, they move to shallow feeding grounds in lagoons, bays, and estuaries. They graze in pastures of sea grasses or algae but may also feed over coral reefs and rocky bottoms. Young honu are omnivorous (eating both animal and plant matter), adults are vegetarians. Growth rates seem to vary depending on where the turtles live.

In Hawai‘i, nesting occurs throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but over 90 percent occurs at the French Frigate Shoals in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Approximately 200-700 females are estimated to nest annually. Lower level nesting occurs in American Samoa, Guam, CNMI, Midway Atoll, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, and Pearl and Hermes Reef.

Past & Present:
Honu and their eggs were once a food source for native Pacific Islanders. The meat, viscera, and eggs supplied a nutritious and succulent alternative to the more common food sources, such as fish, birds, shellfish, coconuts, breadfruit, and taro. The adult female turtles were especially prized due to their large quantities of fat. The utilization of honu for food and other purposes was often under strict control, usually from some form of island council or tribal chief.

Religious, ceremonial, and other traditional restrictions on the capture, killing, distribution, and consumption of honu played an important role in their utilization. For example, in the Hawaiian Islands there were families that considered the honu to be a personal family deity or “aumakua.” Artistic elements of honu have also been featured prominently in some cultures of the Pacific, such as in petroglyphs and tattoo designs.

Honu populations have declined dramatically in the Pacific islands. Overharvest of turtles and eggs by humans is by far the most serious problem. Other threats include habitat loss, capture in fishing nets, boat collisions, and a disease known as fibropapillomatosis. While this species is declining throughout most of the Pacific, in the Hawaiian Islands, honu are demonstrating some encouraging signs of population recovery after 17 years of protective efforts.

Conservation Efforts:
Honu are listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act throughout all areas under U.S. jurisdiction. In the Pacific, the ESA applies to Hawai‘i, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the eight unincorporated U.S. islands (Midway, Wake, Johnston, Palmyra, Kingman, Jarvis, Howland, and Baker). Inclusion of Green Sea Turtles into the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has made it illegal to trade any products made from this species in the U.S. and 130 other countries. The final Recovery Plans for this species was completed by the National Marine Fisheries Service and serve as guidance in actions to recover honu.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/honu.html

 

ʻIʻiwi

Tip: You can find the ‘i’iwi on our Nahele blend

“The ‘I’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) is a striking nectar-feeding honeycreeper (Family Fringillidae) that is usually found in wet and moderately wet forests, but may also occur in dry habitats, on five of the main Hawaiian islands. It tracks flowering ‘Ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees and other native Hawaiian flowers, making daily and seasonal movements across the upper slopes of Hawaii’s remaining native forests to exploit nectar resources. ‘I’iwi uses its robust, sickle-shaped bill to probe flowers for nectar, and it sometimes joins calling flocks of ’Apapane, ’Amakihi, other Hawaiian honeycreepers, and non-native Japanese White-eye as they track food resources.

Once very abundant throughout the Hawaiian islands, the ‘I’iwi is still common on the Big Island and Maui. The Kaua’i population is declining, and on O’ahu and Molokai they are exceedingly rare (O’ahu) or likely extirpated (Molokai). Currently, the major threat to ‘I’iwi is its susceptibility to avian diseases, particularly avian malaria which is carried and transmitted by introduced mosquitoes – one mosquito bite can result in death. As a result, their range has shrunk on each island to areas generally above 1500 meters elevation where the cold-intolerant mosquitoes and the protozoan that causes malaria are less frequent; a warming climate threatens to further raise this elevational threshold.

In addition, introduced pigs, goats, and cattle destroy the forest understory and pigs create breeding sites for mosquitoes; introduced rats, mongoose, and feral cats depredate adults, young, and eggs, and alien invasive plants and insects threaten all native forest ecosystems. Because of the species population declines, particularly on Kaua’i, O’ahu, and Molokai, and the ever growing threats, especially of climate change, the ‘I’iwi is a Bird of Conservation Concern for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and a Focal Species for conservation action. Although uncertainty in the face of climate change is a concern, ungulate and predator control, and habitat restoration offer some hope for this and other native Hawaiian birds, at least on the highest islands. A renewed dedication to these conservation actions will be required, however.”

Sources:

BirdLife International. 2009. Species factsheet: Vestiaria coccinea, Iiwi. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=
SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=8921&m=0.

Fancy, Steven G. and C. John Ralph. 1998. Iiwi (Vestiaria coccinea), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/327.

Downloaded on March 6, 2013 from: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/CurrentBirdIssues/Management/FocalSpecies/liwi.html

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Source: BirdLife International 2012. Vestiaria coccinea. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106008921/0

 

Tip: You can find the Kī plant on our Wai blend

Kī (Cordyline fruticosa)

“Cordyline fruticosa is an evergreen flowering plant in the Asparagus family, Asparagaceae, known by a wide variety of common names including Cabbage Palm, Good Luck Plant, Palm Lily, Ti Plant, Kī, La’i (Hawaiian), Tī Pore (Māori), Sī (Tongan), “Lauti” (Samoan), and ʻAutī (Tahitian).

Formerly treated in the families Agavaceae and Laxmanniaceae (now both subfamilies of the Asparagaceae in the APG III system), it is a woody plant growing up to 4 m (13 ft) tall, with leaves 30–60 cm (12–24 in) (rarely 75 cm/30 in) long and 5–10-centimetre (2.0–3.9 in) wide at the top of a woody stem. It produces 40–60-centimetre (16–24 in) long panicles of small scented yellowish to red flowers that mature into red berries.

It is native to tropical southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, northeastern Australia, the Indian Ocean, and parts of Polynesia. It is not native to either Hawaii or New Zealand but was introduced to both by Polynesian settlers.[2][3]

Cultivation and uses

The species was spread from its native range throughout Polynesia as a cultivated plant. Its starchy rhizomes, which are very sweet when the plant is mature, were eaten as food or as medicine, and its leaves were used to thatch the roofs of houses, and to wrap and store food. The plant or its roots are referred to in most Polynesian languages as tī. Māori ranked the sweetness of the plant above the other Cordyline species native to New Zealand.[4]

Leaves were also used to make items of clothing including skirts worn in dance performances. The Hawaiian hula skirt is a dense skirt with an opaque layer of at least 50 green leaves and the bottom (top of the leaves) shaved flat. The Tongan dance dress, the sisi, is an apron of about 20 leaves, worn over a tupenu, and decorated with some yellow or red leaves[5] (see picture at Māʻuluʻulu).

In ancient Hawaiʻi the plant was thought to have great spiritual power; only kahuna (high priests) and aliʻi (chiefs) were able to wear leaves around their necks during certain ritual activities. Tī leaves were also used to make lei, and to outline borders between properties it was also planted at the corners of the home to keep ghosts from entering the home or property (for which its alternative name: terminalis). To this day some Hawaiians plant tī near their houses to bring good luck. The leaves are also used for lava sledding. A number of leaves are lashed together and people ride down hills on them.

The roots of the tī plant were used as a glossy covering on surfboards in Hawaii in the early 1900s.

Ti is a popular ornamental plant, with numerous cultivars available, many of them selected for green or reddish or purple foliage.

In Hawaii, tī rhizomes are fermented and distilled to make okolehao, a liquor.”

Source:
http://209.20.75.37/taxa/123572-Cordyline-fruticosa

Related Link: http://www.canoeplants.com/ki.html

Koa - Acacia Koa

Tip: You can find the koa on our Nahele blend

“Acacia koa is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands,[1] where it is the second most common tree.[2] The highest populations are on Hawaiʻi, Maui and Oʻahu. Its name in the Hawaiian language, koa, also means brave, bold, fearless, or warrior.[3]

Description

Koa is a large tree, typically attaining a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft) and a spread of 6–12 m (20–39 ft).[4] In deep volcanic ash, a koa tree can reach a height of 30 m (98 ft), a circumference of 6 m (20 ft), and a spread of 38 m (125 ft).[5] It is one of the fastest-growing Hawaiian trees, capable of reaching 6–9 m (20–30 ft) in five years on a good site.[6]
Leaves

Initially, bipinnately compound leaves with 12–24 pairs of leaflets grow on the koa plant, much like other members of the pea family. At about 6–9 months of age, however, thick sickle-shaped “leaves” that are not compound begin to grow. These are phyllodes, blades that develop as an expansion of the leaf petiole. The vertically flattened orientation of the phyllodes allows sunlight to pass to lower levels of the tree. True leaves are entirely replaced by 7–25 cm (2.8–9.8 in) long, 0.5–2.5 cm (0.20–0.98 in) wide phyllodes on an adult tree.[4]

Flowers

Flowers of the koa tree are pale-yellow spherical racemes with a diameter of 8–10 mm (0.31–0.39 in).[7] Flowering may be seasonal or year round depending on the location.[4]
Fruit

Fruit production occurs when a koa tree is between 5 and 30 years old. The fruit are legumes, also called pods, with a length of 7.5–15 cm (3.0–5.9 in) and a width of 1.5–2.5 cm (0.59–0.98 in). Each pod contains an average of 12 seeds. The 6–12 mm (0.24–0.47 in) long, 4–7 mm (0.16–0.28 in) wide seeds are flattened ellipsoids and range from dark brown to black in color. The pods are mature and ready for propagation after turning from green to brown or black. Seeds are covered with a hard seed coat, and this allows them to remain dormant for up to 25 years. Scarification is needed before A. koa seeds will germinate.[7]
Habitat

Koa is endemic to the islands of Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi, where it grows at elevations of 100–2,300 m (330–7,500 ft). It requires 850–5,000 mm (33–200 in) of annual rainfall. Acidic to neutral soils (pH of 4-7.4)[4] that are either an Inceptisol derived from volcanic ash or a well-drained histosol are preferred.[8] Its ability to fix nitrogen allows it to grow in very young volcanic soils.[2] Koa and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) dominate the canopy of mixed mesic forests.[9] It is also common in wet forests.[10]

Uses

The koa’s trunk was used by ancient Hawaiians to build waʻa (dugout outrigger canoes)[11] and papa heʻe nalu (surfboards). Only paipo (bodyboards), kikoʻo, and alaia surfboards were made from koa, however; olo, the longest surfboards, were made from the lighter and more buoyant wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis).[12] The reddish wood is very similar in strength and weight to that of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), with a specific gravity of 0.55,[7] and is sought for use in wood carving and furniture.[4] Koa is also a tonewood,[13] often used in the construction of ukuleles,[14] acoustic guitars,[15] and Weissenborn-style Hawaiian steel guitars.[16] B.C. Rich used koa on some of their electric guitars as well,[17] and still uses a koa-veneered topwood on certain models.[18] Fender made Limited Edition Koa wood models of the Telecaster and the Stratocaster in 2006. Trey Anastasio, guitarist for the band Phish, primarily uses a Koa hollowbody Languedoc guitar. Commercial silviculture of koa is difficult because it takes 20 to 25 years before a tree is of useful size.[19]

Relation To Other Species

The relationships of koa are not clear. Among other Pacific Islands of volcanic (non-continental) origin, only Vanuatu has native Acacia species. A. heterophylla, from distant Réunion, is very similar and has been suggested to be the closest relative of koa, but this is far from certain.[20]

A closely related species, koaiʻa or koaiʻe (A. koaia), is found in dry areas. It is most easily distinguished by having smaller seeds that are arranged end-to-end in the pod, rather than side-by-side. The phyllodes are also usually straighter, though this character is variable in both species. The wood is denser, harder, and more finely grained than koa wood.[4] Koaiʻa has been much more heavily impacted by cattle and is now rare, but can be seen on ranch land in North Kohala.

Conservation

The koa population has suffered from grazing and logging. Many wet forest areas, where the largest koa grow, have been logged out, and it now comes largely from dead or dying trees or farms on private lands. Although formerly used for outrigger canoes, there are few koa remaining which are both large and straight enough to do so today.[4] In areas where cattle are present, koa regeneration is almost completely suppressed. However, if the cattle are removed, koa are among the few native Hawaiian plants able to germinate in grassland, and can be instrumental in restoring native forest. It is often possible to begin reforestation in a pasture by disk harrowing the soil, as this scarifies seeds in the soil and encourages large numbers of koa to germinate.[8] Experiments at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge have shown that ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) survives best in pasture when planted under koa. This is because koa trees reduce radiative cooling, preventing frost damage to ʻōhiʻa lehua seedlings.[21]

Ecology

Koa is the preferred host plant for the caterpillars of the Green Hawaiian Blue (Udara blackburni), which eat the flowers and fruits.[22] Adults drink nectar from the flowers. Koa sap is eaten by the adult Kamehameha Butterfly (Vanessa tameamea).[23]”

Source: http://209.20.75.37/taxa/82376-Acacia-koa

Nēnē - Hawaiian Goose

Tip: You can find the nēnē on our Mauna blend

“This regal goose is Hawai‘i’s state bird. The nēnē measures between 24 to 27 inches in length, has a black head and bill, buff cheeks, a buff neck with dark furrows, and partially webbed black feet. The reduction of webbing between their toes and upright posture enables them to walk more easily on the rugged lava flows. Its vocalizations are similar to those of the Canada goose but also gives a low murmuring “nay” or “nay-nay” call.

Habitat & Behavior:
Nēnē currently frequent scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely vegetated slopes and on Kaua‘i, in open lowland country. The nēnē’s vegetarian diet consists of seeds of grasses and herbs as well as leaves, buds, flowers and fruits of various plants. Nēnē do not require standing or flowing water for successful breeding but will use it when available. The current distribution of nēnē has been highly influenced by the location of release sites of captive-bred nēnē.

The breeding season is from August to April. Their nests are down-lined and usually well concealed under bushes. Nēnē prefer nesting in the same nest area year after year. Mean clutch size for wild birds is 3 eggs (range 1-6) and the incubation period is 30 days. Nēnē goslings are flightless for about 10 to 14 weeks after hatching. Family groups begin flocking soon after the young are able to fly and remain in their breeding areas for about a month. They wander about searching for food after that and may travel long distances from their breeding area.

Past & Present:
Fossil records show that nēnē used to live on all the main Hawaiian islands. It is believed that they were abundant on the Big Island before the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778. Scientists believe that the Maui population became extinct before 1890. The decline in numbers was accelerated during the period of 1850 to 1900 due to aggressive hunting of the birds and collecting of their eggs. In 1951, the nēnē population was estimated at only 30 birds.

Their continued decline was attributed to the introduction of alien animals and degradation, and loss of habitat. Nēnē is extremely vulnerable to predation by introduced animals like rats, dogs, cats, mongooses, and pigs. Some studies, show that low productivity, perhaps caused by the poor available nutrition in their habitat and droughts also impact nēnē populations. Approximately 1,950 nēnē exist in the wild today with 416 on Maui, 165 on Moloka‘i, 850-900 on Kaua‘i, and 457 on the island of Hawai‘i.

Conservation Efforts:
Many public and private organizations have been actively operating and supporting propagation programs to reestablish nēnē in the wild. The State of Hawai‘i reintroduced them to Kīlauea Point and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuges. Nēnē have also been introduced successfully on Moloka‘i under a Safe Harbor Agreement between Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch, DOFAW, and the Fish & Wildlife Service. A programmatic SHA for the entire island of Moloka‘i was finalized in 2003 to allow landowners to develop individual cooperative agreements to help recover nēnē. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in England has also played a major role in the survival of nēnē.

As of 2009, over 2,700 captive-bred nēnē have been released statewide either on public lands or private lands managed under cooperative agreements with State and Federal resource agencies. Nēnē have been raised in captivity by the Zoological Society of San Diego at the Maui Bird Conservation Center at Olinda and the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island .

Nēnē was listed as an endangered species in 1967 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The nēnē recovery plan was published in 1983. A draft recovery plan was approved in 2004. It outlines the essential elements to accomplish a goal of re-establishing nēnē to self-sustaining levels statewide. These elements are to minimize the mortality rate in the wild, continue release of captive-bred birds where needed, continue predator control, and continue research to protect and improve habitat where nēnē can maintain their populations naturally.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/HIgoose.html

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

BirdLife International 2012. Branta sandvicensis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/100600383/0

ʻōhiʻa Lehua

Tip: You can find the ʻōhiʻa lehua on our Nahele blend

The ʻōhiʻa lehua[2] (Metrosideros polymorpha) is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaiʻi. It is a highly variable tree, being 20–25 m (66–82 ft) tall in favorable situations, and much smaller when growing in boggy soils or on basalt. It produces a brilliant display of flowers, made up of a mass of stamens, which can range from fiery red to yellow. Many native Hawaiian traditions refer to the tree and the forests it forms as sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess, and to Laka, the goddess of hula.

Metrosideros polymorpha is the most common native tree in the Hawaiian Islands, tolerating a wide range of soil conditions, temperature, and rainfall. It grows from sea level right up to the tree line at elevations of 2,500 m (8,200 ft) and is commonly found in moist and dry forests, high shrublands, and is a colonizer of recent lava flows. It is relatively slow growing. Dominant in cloud forests above 400 m (1,300 ft), the tree is also common in seasonally wet forests, where it may be dominant or form mixtures with the native Acacia koa.

The reddish brown heartwood of M. polymorpha is very hard, fine textured, and has a specific gravity of 0.7.[3] In native Hawaiian society, it was used in house and heiau construction, as well as to make papa kuʻi ʻai (poi boards), weapons, tool handles, hohoa (round kapa beaters), and kiʻi (statues and idols).[4] Although the trunk of ʻōhiʻa was not used to make the kaʻele (hull) of waʻa (outrigger canoes), it was used for their nohona waʻa (seats), pale (gunwales), and pola (decking). Wae (spreaders) were made from the curved stilt roots of ʻōhiʻa. Pā (fencing) was made from the wood due to its availability; kauila (Colubrina oppositifolia or Alphitonia ponderosa), more durable woods when in contact with soil, was rarer. As the wood burned hot and cleanly, it was excellent wahie (firewood). The lehua (flowers) and liko lehua (leaf buds) were used in making lei.[1] The flowers were used medicinally to treat pain experienced during childbirth.[5]

ʻŌhiʻa lehua is one of the few honey plants that is native to the Hawaiian Islands.[1][6]
Metrosideros polymorpha forests in Hawaiʻi have been invaded by a myriad of alien species. In the wet forests these include the strawberry guava (Psidium littorale), albizia (Falcataria moluccana), and “purple plague” (Miconia calvescens). In drier areas, problematic invaders include faya tree (Myrica faya) and Christmasberry (Schinus terebinthifolius). Alien grasses such as meadow ricegrass (Ehrharta stipoides) may form an understory that prevents or inhibits natural regeneration of the forests. In drier areas, M. polymorpha has to compete with silk oak (Grevillea robusta) and fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). While ʻōhiʻa itself remains extremely abundant, some species that depend on it such as the ʻakekeʻe (Loxops caeruleirostris) and longhorn beetles in the genus Plagithmysus have become endangered due to shrinkage of forest areas.

Source:

http://209.20.75.37/taxa/60447-Metrosideros-polymorpha

 

Pinapinao - Flying Earwig Hawaiian Damselfly

Tip: you can find the pinapinao on our Wai blend

Flying Earwig Hawaiian damselfly (Megalagrion nesiotes)

Photo Credit: David Preston

http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/endangered/nesiot.html

This species has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Polhemus, D.A. 2006. Megalagrion nesiotes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 April 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/59741/0

Damselflies are insects in the order Odonata, and are close relatives of dragonflies, which they resemble in appearance. Damselflies, however, are slender-bodied and fold their wings parallel to the body while at rest, which readily distinguishes them from their dragonfly relatives, which hold their wings out perpendicular to the body while not in flight.

The flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly and the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly are
unique, endemic insects found only in the Hawaiian Islands. Historically found on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly has not been seen on the island of Hawaii for over 80 years. Currently, the species is known only from one location on Maui. The Pacific Hawaiian damselfly was historically found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Kahoolawe and Niihau. Currently, the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly is known only from the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Molokai.

The Hawaiian Islands are well known for several spectacular evolutionary
radiations (the rapid evolution of new species from a single ancestral type, as a result of adaptation and divergence in response to new ecological conditions) resulting in unique insect fauna found
nowhere else in the world. One such group, which began its evolution perhaps as long as 10 million years ago (Jordan et al. 2003, p. 89), is the narrowwinged Hawaiian damselfly genus Megalagrion. This genus appears to be most closely related to species of Pseudagrion elsewhere in the Indo- Pacific (Zimmerman 1948a, pp. 341, 345).

The Megalagrion species of the Hawaiian Islands have evolved to occupy as many larval breeding niches (different adaptations and ecological
conditions for breeding and development of larvae, including chemical, physical, spatial, and temporal factors) as all the rest of the world’s damselfly species combined, and in terms of the number of insularendemic
(native to only one island) species, are exceeded only by the radiation of damselfly species of Fiji in the Pacific (Jordan et al. 2003, p. 91).

Native Hawaiians apparently did not differentiate the various species, but
referred to the native damselflies (and dragonflies) collectively as ‘‘pinao,’’ and to the red-colored damselflies specifically as ‘‘pinao ula.’’

Beginning with the extensive stream and wetland conversion, alteration, and
modification, and degradation of native forests through the 20th century,
Hawaii’s native damselflies, (…) experienced a tremendous reduction in available habitat. In addition, predation by a number of nonnative species that have been both intentionally and, in some cases, inadvertently introduced into the Hawaiian Islands is a significant and ongoing threat to all native Hawaiian damselflies.

The flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly is a comparatively large and elongated
species. The males are blue and black in color and exhibit distinctive, greatly enlarged, pincer-like cerci (paired appendages on the rearmost segment of the abdomen used to clasp the female during mating).
It is for the males’ elongated abdominal appendages and their resemblance to those found on earwigs (order Dermaptera) that the species is named. Females are predominantly brownish in color.

The biology of the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly is not well understood, and it is unknown if this species is more likely to be associated with standing water or flowing water (Kennedy 1934, p. 345; Polhemus 1994,
p. 40). The only confirmed population found in the last 6 years occurs along a single East Maui stream and the adjacent steep, moist, riparian talus slope (a slope formed by an accumulation of rock debris), which is
densely covered with Dicranopteris linearis (uluhe), a native fern. Adults of the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly have been observed to perch on
vegetation and boulders, and to fly slowly for short distances above this
particular stream within the one known remaining habitat site. When disturbed, the adults fly downward within nearby vegetation or between rocks, rather than up and away as is usually observed with aquatic Hawaiian damselfly species.

It is hypothesized that the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly may now be
restricted to what is perhaps suboptimal habitat, where periodic absences of the species due to drought may be expected and might explain the lack of
observations of the species (Foote 2007).
Some researchers also believe that overcollection of this species by
enthusiasts may have impacted some populations in the past (Polhemus
2008).
It is further possible that the individuals observed in this area are
actually part of a larger population that may be located in the extensive belt of uluhe habitat located upslope, where the habitat is predominantly native shrubs and matted fern understory (Foote 2007; Hawaii Biodiversity and Mapping Program (HBMP) 2006).

Source:
Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
Downloadd on April 2, 2013 at:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-24/pdf/2010-15237.pdf#page=1

Additional resources:

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=I05X

Pueo - Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl

Tip: You can find the pueo on our Lani blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Pueo / Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl / Asio flammeus sandwichensis

SPECIES STATUS:

State listed as Endangered on O‘ahu State recognized as Endemic at the subspecies level NatureServe Heritage Rank G5/T2 –

Species secure/Subspecies imperiled

SPECIES INFORMATION:

The pueo, or Hawaiian short-eared owl, is an endemic subspecies of the nearly pandemic short-eared owl (Asio flammeus; Family: Strigidae). The species is thought to have colonized the Hawaiian Islands sometime after the arrival of Polynesians. Unlike most owls, pueo are active during the day (i.e., diurnal), and are commonly seen hovering or soaring over open areas. Like short-eared owls in continental environments, those in Hawai‘i primarily consume small mammals. Their relatively recent establishment on Hawai‘i may have been tied to the rats (Rattus exulans) that Polynesians brought to the islands. Little is known about the breeding biology of pueo, but nests have been found throughout the year. Males perform aerial displays known as a sky dancing display to prospective females. Nests are constructed by females and are comprised of simple scrapes in the ground lined with grasses and feather down. Females also perform all incubating and brooding. Males feed females and defend nests. Chicks hatch asynchronously and are fed by female with food delivered by male. Young may fledge from nest on foot before they are able to fly and depend on their parents for approximately two months.

DISTRIBUTION:

Found on all the Main Hawaiian Islands from sea level to 2,450 meters (8,000 feet).

ABUNDANCE:

Unknown. Because of relatively few detections, the Hawaiian Forest Bird Survey did not estimate the population size of the pueo. Pueo were widespread at the end of the 19th century, but are thought to be declining.

LOCATION AND CONDITION OF KEY HABITAT:

Pueo occupy a variety of habitats, including wet and dry forests, but are most common in open habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, and montane parklands, including urban areas and those actively managed for conservation. Because of a lack of historical population data and the species’ current, broad habitat use, key habitat variables are difficult to determine. Pueo occur in many areas that are managed by the Sate of Hawai‘i or Federal agencies.

THREATS:

Pueo are likely susceptible to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian birds, including: loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals, and disease. However, their persistence in lowland, non-native and rangeland habitats suggests that they may be less vulnerable to extinction than other native birds, especially because they may be resistant to avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) and avian pox (Poxvirus avium).

Despite this, for pueo populations, the following are of particular concern:
ƒ -“Sick owl syndrome”. Mortality on Kaua‘i has been attributed to this syndrome, which may be related to pesticide poisoning or food shortages.
ƒ -Predation. Because pueo nest on the ground, their eggs and young are vulnerable to predation by rats (Rattus spp.), cats (Felis silvestris), and the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus).
ƒ -Habitat loss. May be particularly important to O‘ahu pueo populations.
ƒ -Contaminants or toxins. Because pueo are top predators, fat-soluble contaminants may accumulate in prey species; may be related to “sick owl syndrome” (see above).
ƒ -Human interaction. Hunting behavior and habitat use predispose pueo to vehicular collisions, which have been documented on Lāna‘i and the island of Hawai‘i.

CONSERVATION ACTIONS:

Pueo likely have benefited from management activities designed to conserve other endangered birds. They also may benefit from game bird management; high densities of pueo occur on lands where game birds also are common. In addition to these efforts, future management specific to the pueo may include the following:
ƒ -Determine population trends, especially on islands where “sick owl syndrome” has been
documented.
ƒ -Public outreach and education.
ƒ -Continue protection and management of wildlife sanctuaries and refuges.

MONITORING:

Regular island-wide population surveys are necessary to determine population trends for this species. This information is needed to assess the efficacy of habitat management efforts.

RESEARCH PRIORITIES:

Research priorities specific to pueo include the following:
ƒ -Analysis of population trends and changes in habitat occupancy, especially on O‘ahu.
ƒ -Determine the cause of “sick owl syndrome” and its potential effect on populations.
ƒ -Quantify the number of vehicular collisions and determine the level of threat to
populations.”

Source: Hawaii’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, October 1, 2005

Downloaded on Mar 6, 2013 from: http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/cwcs/files/NAAT%20final%20CWCS/Chapters/Terrestrial%20Fact%20Sheets/raptors/pueo%20NAAT%20final%20!.pdf

Uluhe - False Staghorn Fern

Tip: you can find the uluhe fern on our Wai blend

“Dicranopteris linearis is a common species of fern known by many common names, including Old World forked fern and uluhe (Hawaiian). It is one of the most widely distributed ferns of the wet Old World tropics and adjacent regions, including Polynesia and the Pacific.[2] In parts of the New World tropics its niche is filled by its relative, Dicranopteris pectinatus.[2]

The fern is a keystone species in Hawaiian ecosystems, and dominates many areas in Hawaiian rainforests.[2] It occurs on all the main Hawaiian islands.[3] As a pioneer species in ecological succession, it can colonize bare sites such as lava flows, talus, and abandoned roads. When the fern grows onto a new site it produces layers of stems and leaves repeatedly until there is a network of vegetation. The leaves die and the stems are very slow to decompose, so the network persists. The network then fills with organic forest detritus, forming a litter layer which can be a meter thick. The network is penetrated by the fern’s rhizomes and roots, such that the fern serves as its own substrate.[2] Where the fern is eliminated, invasive species of plants can move in, so “one important function” of the fern is to prevent these plants from encroaching on the rainforest.[2] The fern may have allelopathic effects, preventing the growth of other plants.[6] Also, the fern is a very productive member of the forest ecosystem; despite being a relatively small amount of the biomass in the forest it accounts for over half of the primary productivity in some areas.[2]”

Sources:

http://209.20.75.37/taxa/false_staghorn_fern

 

Ae‘o - Hawaiian Stilt

Tip: You can find the ae’o on our Kai blend

“The ae’o is a slender wading bird that grows up to 15 inches in length. It has a black back and white forehead, and is white below; the female has a tinge of brown on its back. This endangered species has very long pink legs and a long black bill. The Hawaiian subspecies differs from the North American stilt by having more black on its face and neck, and longer bill, tarsus, and tail.

Habitat & Behavior:
Ae’o use a variety of aquatic habitats but are limited by water depth and vegetation cover. Specific water depths of 13 cm (5 inches) are required for optimal foraging. Nest sites are frequently separated from feeding sites and stilts move between these areas daily. Nesting sites are adjacent to or on low islands within bodies of fresh, brackish, or salt water.

Feeding habitats are shallow bodies of water providing them with a wide variety of invertebrates and other aquatic organisms (worms, crabs, fish). They like to loaf around in open mudflats, sparsely vegetated pickleweed mats, and open pasture lands perhaps because visibility is good and. During the nesting period, incubating pairs may move between the nest site and a foraging area.

Stilts have a loud chirp that sounds like: kip kip kip. The female chirp is lower than the male’s.

Past & Present:
Stilts were historically known to be on all the major islands except Lana’i and Kaho’olawe. As with the other Hawaiian waterbirds, historic numbers are unknown. It is believed that there were about 1,000 of them in the late 1940s.

The ae’o can still be found on all the major islands except Kaho’olawe, but their numbers have not increased by much. It appears that the population has stabilized or slightly increased over the past 30 years. Stilt numbers have varied between 1,100 and 1,783 between 1997 and 2007, according to state biannual waterbird survey data, with Maui and O’ahu accounting for 60-80% of them.

The primary causes of the decline of this Hawaiian native waterbird has been the loss and degradation of wetland habitat and introduced predators (e.g., rats, dogs, cats, mongoose). Other factors include alien plants, introduced fish, bull frogs, disease, and sometimes environmental contaminants.

The ae’o can be seen at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua’i, James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on O’ahu, Kakahai’a NWR on Moloka’i, and Kealia Pond NWR on Maui, as well as other wetlands around the state.

Conservation Efforts:
The ae’o was once a popular game bird, but waterbird hunting was banned in 1939. State and Federal effort in protecting wetlands, enforcing strict hunting laws, educating, and working with private organizations and landowners, play an important role in ensuring the livelihood of the ae’o and many other waterbirds.

The ae’o was listed as an endangered species in 1967 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Hawaiian Waterbirds Recovery Plan was completed in 1978, revised in 1985, and in May 2005 a draft recovery plan was published.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/stilt.html

 

`Ahinahina - Haleakalā Silversword

Tip: You can find the `ahinahina on our Mauna blend

“Argyroxiphium is a small genus of five species in the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Its members are known by the common name of silversword or greensword due to their long, narrow leaves and the silvery hairs on some species. It belongs to a larger radiation of over 50 species, including the physically different genera Dubautia and Wilkesia. This grouping is often referred to as the silversword alliance.

Description
These perennials are endemic to Hawai’i, occurring only on the islands of Maui and Hawai’i in an extremely localized distribution. They are primarily found above 1,500 m (4,900 ft) in elevation in alpine deserts or bogs, indicating an adaptation to low-nutrient soils. The Ka’ū or Mauna Loa Silversword (A. kauense) is the most adaptable: it can be found in rocky lava flows, bogs, and open forest.

They consist of rosette-forming epigeal shrubs or dwarf shrubs. They may consist of a single large rosette (Mauna Kea and Haleakalā silverswords), a short-branched rosette (Mauna Loa Silversword), or spreading with runners (‘Eke Silversword, greenswords). The flower heads consist of a ring of pistillate ray florets around 30 to 600 disk florets. The corolla varies in color from purplish to wine red or yellow, while the anthers are dark. A rosette will grow from 5–20 years before flowering, after which it dies. For those with a single rosette, this means the death of the plant (in contrast, those reproducing by runners rarely flower and may be very long-lived). Because they require cross-pollination by insects, many plants must flower at the same time in relatively close proximity or they will fail to set seed. A significant population must exist for enough to flower each year for pollination to occur.

Despite appearances, they are very closely related to the genus Dubautia. Although some Dubautia are radically different from silverswords, those found in wet forests and alpine deserts clearly grade into the form of silverswords. Hybrids between Argyroxiphium sandwicense and Dubautia menziesii are common in Haleakalā Crater. Although the two species are quite distinct, the hybrids span the entire range of variation between them.

Conservation
Silverswords and greenswords are highly sensitive to disturbance. Their shallow root systems are easily crushed in the boggy soil or loose volcanic cinders they grow in. The succulent leaves are eaten by goats in the dry summits, and pigs frequently disturb the fragile bog vegetation. All species are highly restricted in range, and even those that are protected are vulnerable to catastrophic events. The East Maui Greensword (A. virescens) is apparently extinct, but in 1989 plants were discovered that appear to be hybrids between it and the Haleakalā Silversword.[2] The Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa silverswords both have small populations, but are being cultivated and outplanted in protected areas. The largest population of Mauna Loa Silverswords is in Kahuku, which was recently acquired by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Species

  • Argyroxiphium caliginis C.N.Forbes – ‘Eke Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium grayanum (Hillebr.) O. Deg. – Greensword
  • Argyroxiphium kauense (Rock & M.Neal) O.Deg. & I.Deg. – Mauna Loa or Ka’ū Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense DC. – Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. sandwicense DC. – Mauna Kea Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. macrocephalum (A.Gray) Meyrat – Haleakalā Silversword
  • Argyroxiphium virescens Hillebr. – East Maui Greensword (extinct)”

Source:
http://209.20.75.37/taxa/68284-Argyroxiphium

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Bruegmann, M.M. & Caraway, V. 2003. Argyroxiphium sandwicense. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44157/0

 

‘Ākohekohe - Crested Honeycreeper

Tip: You can find the ‘ākohekohe on our Nahele blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Crested Honeycreeper / Palmeria dolei / ‘Ākohekohe

“The ‘ākohekohe is 7 inches in length and is the largest of the honeycreepers on Maui. It is primarily black, and can appear to be entirely black in poor light, particularly if the bird is wet. The black feathers are tipped with gray on the breast and throat, whitish on the wing and tail tips, and the nape and body is speckled with orange. The ‘ākohekohe gets its name from its ragged white crest above the bill.

Habitat & Behavior:
The boisterous ‘ākohekohe is found in rainforests that are at least 4,200 feet in elevation. It will aggressively chase off native rivals such as the ‘apapane and i‘iwi when competing for food. It usually feeds on ‘ōhi‘a flower nectar but will take nectar fron other native plants, and will eat insects and fruits. The ‘apapane is highly vocal with many different calls.

Past & Present:
Historically, 12 species of forest birds were found on Maui. One of these became extinct in this century and five of them are now endangered, with the ‘ākohekohe being one of them. The Hawaiian landscape today is a drastically modified version of the pristine conditions encountered by the first Polynesians some 1,400 years ago. Habitat degradation and destruction, human exploitation, predation, avian diseases, and competition with introduced species are all factors in the decline of the ‘ākohekohe and many other native forest birds.

‘Ākohekohe were abundant on Maui and Moloka‘i at the turn of the century, and were last seen on Moloka‘i in 1907. During a 1980 forest bird survey on Maui, 415 observations were recorded in an area of about 11,000 acres, ranging from 4,200 feet to 7,100 feet elevation. The total population is estimated at 3,800 birds, and appears to be broken into two major subpopulations separated by the Ko‘olau Gap. The Moloka‘i population is believed to be extinct today.

Conservation Efforts:
The first steps to protect native Hawaiian forests were taken in 1903 when the Hawaiian Territorial Government created the State Forest Reserve system, which provides essential habitat for the survival of all the endangered forest birds on Maui and Moloka‘i. Haleakala National Park, and The Nature Conservancy’s Kamakou and Waikamoi Preserves also provide important habitat for native plants and animals.

The ‘ākohekohe was listed as an endangered species on March 11, 1967, under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The first draft of the Maui-Moloka‘i Forest Bird Recovery Plan was published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1976 and served as a valuable guidance for research on the species. The Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Forest Birds (2006) recommends continued partnerships with other agencies to protect essential forest bird habitat, continued support in the eradication of introduced plants and animals, habitat management in existing reserves, and enhancement of remaining forest bird habitat.”

Source: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/crestedhoneycreeper.html

This species has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

BirdLife International 2012. Palmeria dolei. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106008924/0

‘A‘o - Newell’s Shearwater

Tip: You can find the ‘a‘o on our Lani blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Puffinus auricularis newelli

“The Newell’s shearwater is a medium-sized shearwater measuring 12 to 14 inches with a wing span of 30-35 inches. It has a glossy black top, a white bottom, and a black bill that is sharply hooked at the tip. Its claws are well adapted for burrow excavation and climbing.

Habitat & Behavior:
The Newell’s shearwater or ‘a‘o is a bird of the open tropical seas and offshore waters near breeding grounds. During their nine-month breeding season from April through November, ‘a‘o nest in burrows under ferns on forested mountain slopes. These burrows are used year after year and usually by the same pair of birds. Although the ‘a‘o is capable of climbing shrubs and trees before taking flight, it needs an open downhill flight path through which it can become airborne.

The ‘a‘o primarily feeds on squid and has loud and nasal calls resembling the braying of a donkey and the call of a crow.

Past & Present:
The Newell’s shearwater was once abundant on all main Hawaiian islands. Today, the majority of these birds nest promarily in mountainous terrain between 500 to 2,300 feet on Kaua‘i. This seabird was reported to be in danger of extinction by the 1930s. The introduction of the mongoose, cat, black rat, and Norway rat may have played a primary role in the reduction of ground nesting seabirds such as the ‘a‘o and the ‘ua‘u (Hawaiian petrel).

A second threat to the ‘a‘o is its attraction to light. Increasing urbanization and the accompanying manmade lighting have resulted in substantial problems for fledgling shearwaters during their first flight to the ocean from their nesting grounds. When attracted to manmade lights, fledglings become confused and often fly into utility wires, poles, trees, and buildings and fall to the ground. Between 1978 and 2007, more than 30,000 Newell’s shearwaters were picked up by island residents from Kaua‘i’s highways, athletic fields, and hotel grounds.

Conservation Efforts:
Predator control in key habitat areas, the establishment of Bird Salvage-Aid Stations, translocation, and light attraction studies have been initiated to help save the Newell’s shearwater. Outreach to Kaua‘i’s local community has resulted in people picking up and bringing them to aid stations for care and release, giving the seabirds a chance to live.

The Newell’s shearwater was listed as an threatened species by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975. The Hawaiian petrel and Newell’s shearwater recovery plan was published in 1983.”

Source: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/newellsshearwater.html

This species has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

BirdLife International 2012. Puffinus newelli. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003939/0

 

Honu - Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

Tip: You can find the honu on our Kai blend

Photo Credit: Maui Under Sea Adventures

“The term “green” applies not to the external coloration, but to the color of the turtle’s subdermal fat. The carapace of adult honu is light to dark brown, sometimes shaded with olive, with radiating wavy or mottled markings of a darker color or with large blotches of dark brown.

Habitat & Behavior:
The honu is found world wide in warm seas. In the Pacific United States and its territories, honu are found along the coasts of Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, unincorporated U.S. island possessions, and a small resident group in San Diego Bay, California. Individuals may occasionally be found as far north as Alaska.

The honu occupies three habitat types: open beaches, open sea, and feeding grounds in shallow, protected waters. Upon hatching, the young turtles crawl from the beach to the open ocean. When their shells grow 8-10 inches long, they move to shallow feeding grounds in lagoons, bays, and estuaries. They graze in pastures of sea grasses or algae but may also feed over coral reefs and rocky bottoms. Young honu are omnivorous (eating both animal and plant matter), adults are vegetarians. Growth rates seem to vary depending on where the turtles live.

In Hawai‘i, nesting occurs throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but over 90 percent occurs at the French Frigate Shoals in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Approximately 200-700 females are estimated to nest annually. Lower level nesting occurs in American Samoa, Guam, CNMI, Midway Atoll, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, and Pearl and Hermes Reef.

Past & Present:
Honu and their eggs were once a food source for native Pacific Islanders. The meat, viscera, and eggs supplied a nutritious and succulent alternative to the more common food sources, such as fish, birds, shellfish, coconuts, breadfruit, and taro. The adult female turtles were especially prized due to their large quantities of fat. The utilization of honu for food and other purposes was often under strict control, usually from some form of island council or tribal chief.

Religious, ceremonial, and other traditional restrictions on the capture, killing, distribution, and consumption of honu played an important role in their utilization. For example, in the Hawaiian Islands there were families that considered the honu to be a personal family deity or “aumakua.” Artistic elements of honu have also been featured prominently in some cultures of the Pacific, such as in petroglyphs and tattoo designs.

Honu populations have declined dramatically in the Pacific islands. Overharvest of turtles and eggs by humans is by far the most serious problem. Other threats include habitat loss, capture in fishing nets, boat collisions, and a disease known as fibropapillomatosis. While this species is declining throughout most of the Pacific, in the Hawaiian Islands, honu are demonstrating some encouraging signs of population recovery after 17 years of protective efforts.

Conservation Efforts:
Honu are listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act throughout all areas under U.S. jurisdiction. In the Pacific, the ESA applies to Hawai‘i, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the eight unincorporated U.S. islands (Midway, Wake, Johnston, Palmyra, Kingman, Jarvis, Howland, and Baker). Inclusion of Green Sea Turtles into the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has made it illegal to trade any products made from this species in the U.S. and 130 other countries. The final Recovery Plans for this species was completed by the National Marine Fisheries Service and serve as guidance in actions to recover honu.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/honu.html

 

ʻIʻiwi

Tip: You can find the ‘i’iwi on our Nahele blend

“The ‘I’iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) is a striking nectar-feeding honeycreeper (Family Fringillidae) that is usually found in wet and moderately wet forests, but may also occur in dry habitats, on five of the main Hawaiian islands. It tracks flowering ‘Ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees and other native Hawaiian flowers, making daily and seasonal movements across the upper slopes of Hawaii’s remaining native forests to exploit nectar resources. ‘I’iwi uses its robust, sickle-shaped bill to probe flowers for nectar, and it sometimes joins calling flocks of ’Apapane, ’Amakihi, other Hawaiian honeycreepers, and non-native Japanese White-eye as they track food resources.

Once very abundant throughout the Hawaiian islands, the ‘I’iwi is still common on the Big Island and Maui. The Kaua’i population is declining, and on O’ahu and Molokai they are exceedingly rare (O’ahu) or likely extirpated (Molokai). Currently, the major threat to ‘I’iwi is its susceptibility to avian diseases, particularly avian malaria which is carried and transmitted by introduced mosquitoes – one mosquito bite can result in death. As a result, their range has shrunk on each island to areas generally above 1500 meters elevation where the cold-intolerant mosquitoes and the protozoan that causes malaria are less frequent; a warming climate threatens to further raise this elevational threshold.

In addition, introduced pigs, goats, and cattle destroy the forest understory and pigs create breeding sites for mosquitoes; introduced rats, mongoose, and feral cats depredate adults, young, and eggs, and alien invasive plants and insects threaten all native forest ecosystems. Because of the species population declines, particularly on Kaua’i, O’ahu, and Molokai, and the ever growing threats, especially of climate change, the ‘I’iwi is a Bird of Conservation Concern for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and a Focal Species for conservation action. Although uncertainty in the face of climate change is a concern, ungulate and predator control, and habitat restoration offer some hope for this and other native Hawaiian birds, at least on the highest islands. A renewed dedication to these conservation actions will be required, however.”

Sources:

BirdLife International. 2009. Species factsheet: Vestiaria coccinea, Iiwi. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=
SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=8921&m=0.

Fancy, Steven G. and C. John Ralph. 1998. Iiwi (Vestiaria coccinea), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/327.

Downloaded on March 6, 2013 from: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/CurrentBirdIssues/Management/FocalSpecies/liwi.html

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Source: BirdLife International 2012. Vestiaria coccinea. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106008921/0

 

Tip: You can find the Kī plant on our Wai blend

Kī (Cordyline fruticosa)

“Cordyline fruticosa is an evergreen flowering plant in the Asparagus family, Asparagaceae, known by a wide variety of common names including Cabbage Palm, Good Luck Plant, Palm Lily, Ti Plant, Kī, La’i (Hawaiian), Tī Pore (Māori), Sī (Tongan), “Lauti” (Samoan), and ʻAutī (Tahitian).

Formerly treated in the families Agavaceae and Laxmanniaceae (now both subfamilies of the Asparagaceae in the APG III system), it is a woody plant growing up to 4 m (13 ft) tall, with leaves 30–60 cm (12–24 in) (rarely 75 cm/30 in) long and 5–10-centimetre (2.0–3.9 in) wide at the top of a woody stem. It produces 40–60-centimetre (16–24 in) long panicles of small scented yellowish to red flowers that mature into red berries.

It is native to tropical southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, northeastern Australia, the Indian Ocean, and parts of Polynesia. It is not native to either Hawaii or New Zealand but was introduced to both by Polynesian settlers.[2][3]

Cultivation and uses

The species was spread from its native range throughout Polynesia as a cultivated plant. Its starchy rhizomes, which are very sweet when the plant is mature, were eaten as food or as medicine, and its leaves were used to thatch the roofs of houses, and to wrap and store food. The plant or its roots are referred to in most Polynesian languages as tī. Māori ranked the sweetness of the plant above the other Cordyline species native to New Zealand.[4]

Leaves were also used to make items of clothing including skirts worn in dance performances. The Hawaiian hula skirt is a dense skirt with an opaque layer of at least 50 green leaves and the bottom (top of the leaves) shaved flat. The Tongan dance dress, the sisi, is an apron of about 20 leaves, worn over a tupenu, and decorated with some yellow or red leaves[5] (see picture at Māʻuluʻulu).

In ancient Hawaiʻi the plant was thought to have great spiritual power; only kahuna (high priests) and aliʻi (chiefs) were able to wear leaves around their necks during certain ritual activities. Tī leaves were also used to make lei, and to outline borders between properties it was also planted at the corners of the home to keep ghosts from entering the home or property (for which its alternative name: terminalis). To this day some Hawaiians plant tī near their houses to bring good luck. The leaves are also used for lava sledding. A number of leaves are lashed together and people ride down hills on them.

The roots of the tī plant were used as a glossy covering on surfboards in Hawaii in the early 1900s.

Ti is a popular ornamental plant, with numerous cultivars available, many of them selected for green or reddish or purple foliage.

In Hawaii, tī rhizomes are fermented and distilled to make okolehao, a liquor.”

Source:
http://209.20.75.37/taxa/123572-Cordyline-fruticosa

Related Link: http://www.canoeplants.com/ki.html

Koa - Acacia Koa

Tip: You can find the koa on our Nahele blend

“Acacia koa is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands,[1] where it is the second most common tree.[2] The highest populations are on Hawaiʻi, Maui and Oʻahu. Its name in the Hawaiian language, koa, also means brave, bold, fearless, or warrior.[3]

Description

Koa is a large tree, typically attaining a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft) and a spread of 6–12 m (20–39 ft).[4] In deep volcanic ash, a koa tree can reach a height of 30 m (98 ft), a circumference of 6 m (20 ft), and a spread of 38 m (125 ft).[5] It is one of the fastest-growing Hawaiian trees, capable of reaching 6–9 m (20–30 ft) in five years on a good site.[6]
Leaves

Initially, bipinnately compound leaves with 12–24 pairs of leaflets grow on the koa plant, much like other members of the pea family. At about 6–9 months of age, however, thick sickle-shaped “leaves” that are not compound begin to grow. These are phyllodes, blades that develop as an expansion of the leaf petiole. The vertically flattened orientation of the phyllodes allows sunlight to pass to lower levels of the tree. True leaves are entirely replaced by 7–25 cm (2.8–9.8 in) long, 0.5–2.5 cm (0.20–0.98 in) wide phyllodes on an adult tree.[4]

Flowers

Flowers of the koa tree are pale-yellow spherical racemes with a diameter of 8–10 mm (0.31–0.39 in).[7] Flowering may be seasonal or year round depending on the location.[4]
Fruit

Fruit production occurs when a koa tree is between 5 and 30 years old. The fruit are legumes, also called pods, with a length of 7.5–15 cm (3.0–5.9 in) and a width of 1.5–2.5 cm (0.59–0.98 in). Each pod contains an average of 12 seeds. The 6–12 mm (0.24–0.47 in) long, 4–7 mm (0.16–0.28 in) wide seeds are flattened ellipsoids and range from dark brown to black in color. The pods are mature and ready for propagation after turning from green to brown or black. Seeds are covered with a hard seed coat, and this allows them to remain dormant for up to 25 years. Scarification is needed before A. koa seeds will germinate.[7]
Habitat

Koa is endemic to the islands of Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi, where it grows at elevations of 100–2,300 m (330–7,500 ft). It requires 850–5,000 mm (33–200 in) of annual rainfall. Acidic to neutral soils (pH of 4-7.4)[4] that are either an Inceptisol derived from volcanic ash or a well-drained histosol are preferred.[8] Its ability to fix nitrogen allows it to grow in very young volcanic soils.[2] Koa and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) dominate the canopy of mixed mesic forests.[9] It is also common in wet forests.[10]

Uses

The koa’s trunk was used by ancient Hawaiians to build waʻa (dugout outrigger canoes)[11] and papa heʻe nalu (surfboards). Only paipo (bodyboards), kikoʻo, and alaia surfboards were made from koa, however; olo, the longest surfboards, were made from the lighter and more buoyant wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis).[12] The reddish wood is very similar in strength and weight to that of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), with a specific gravity of 0.55,[7] and is sought for use in wood carving and furniture.[4] Koa is also a tonewood,[13] often used in the construction of ukuleles,[14] acoustic guitars,[15] and Weissenborn-style Hawaiian steel guitars.[16] B.C. Rich used koa on some of their electric guitars as well,[17] and still uses a koa-veneered topwood on certain models.[18] Fender made Limited Edition Koa wood models of the Telecaster and the Stratocaster in 2006. Trey Anastasio, guitarist for the band Phish, primarily uses a Koa hollowbody Languedoc guitar. Commercial silviculture of koa is difficult because it takes 20 to 25 years before a tree is of useful size.[19]

Relation To Other Species

The relationships of koa are not clear. Among other Pacific Islands of volcanic (non-continental) origin, only Vanuatu has native Acacia species. A. heterophylla, from distant Réunion, is very similar and has been suggested to be the closest relative of koa, but this is far from certain.[20]

A closely related species, koaiʻa or koaiʻe (A. koaia), is found in dry areas. It is most easily distinguished by having smaller seeds that are arranged end-to-end in the pod, rather than side-by-side. The phyllodes are also usually straighter, though this character is variable in both species. The wood is denser, harder, and more finely grained than koa wood.[4] Koaiʻa has been much more heavily impacted by cattle and is now rare, but can be seen on ranch land in North Kohala.

Conservation

The koa population has suffered from grazing and logging. Many wet forest areas, where the largest koa grow, have been logged out, and it now comes largely from dead or dying trees or farms on private lands. Although formerly used for outrigger canoes, there are few koa remaining which are both large and straight enough to do so today.[4] In areas where cattle are present, koa regeneration is almost completely suppressed. However, if the cattle are removed, koa are among the few native Hawaiian plants able to germinate in grassland, and can be instrumental in restoring native forest. It is often possible to begin reforestation in a pasture by disk harrowing the soil, as this scarifies seeds in the soil and encourages large numbers of koa to germinate.[8] Experiments at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge have shown that ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha) survives best in pasture when planted under koa. This is because koa trees reduce radiative cooling, preventing frost damage to ʻōhiʻa lehua seedlings.[21]

Ecology

Koa is the preferred host plant for the caterpillars of the Green Hawaiian Blue (Udara blackburni), which eat the flowers and fruits.[22] Adults drink nectar from the flowers. Koa sap is eaten by the adult Kamehameha Butterfly (Vanessa tameamea).[23]”

Source: http://209.20.75.37/taxa/82376-Acacia-koa

Nēnē - Hawaiian Goose

Tip: You can find the nēnē on our Mauna blend

“This regal goose is Hawai‘i’s state bird. The nēnē measures between 24 to 27 inches in length, has a black head and bill, buff cheeks, a buff neck with dark furrows, and partially webbed black feet. The reduction of webbing between their toes and upright posture enables them to walk more easily on the rugged lava flows. Its vocalizations are similar to those of the Canada goose but also gives a low murmuring “nay” or “nay-nay” call.

Habitat & Behavior:
Nēnē currently frequent scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely vegetated slopes and on Kaua‘i, in open lowland country. The nēnē’s vegetarian diet consists of seeds of grasses and herbs as well as leaves, buds, flowers and fruits of various plants. Nēnē do not require standing or flowing water for successful breeding but will use it when available. The current distribution of nēnē has been highly influenced by the location of release sites of captive-bred nēnē.

The breeding season is from August to April. Their nests are down-lined and usually well concealed under bushes. Nēnē prefer nesting in the same nest area year after year. Mean clutch size for wild birds is 3 eggs (range 1-6) and the incubation period is 30 days. Nēnē goslings are flightless for about 10 to 14 weeks after hatching. Family groups begin flocking soon after the young are able to fly and remain in their breeding areas for about a month. They wander about searching for food after that and may travel long distances from their breeding area.

Past & Present:
Fossil records show that nēnē used to live on all the main Hawaiian islands. It is believed that they were abundant on the Big Island before the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778. Scientists believe that the Maui population became extinct before 1890. The decline in numbers was accelerated during the period of 1850 to 1900 due to aggressive hunting of the birds and collecting of their eggs. In 1951, the nēnē population was estimated at only 30 birds.

Their continued decline was attributed to the introduction of alien animals and degradation, and loss of habitat. Nēnē is extremely vulnerable to predation by introduced animals like rats, dogs, cats, mongooses, and pigs. Some studies, show that low productivity, perhaps caused by the poor available nutrition in their habitat and droughts also impact nēnē populations. Approximately 1,950 nēnē exist in the wild today with 416 on Maui, 165 on Moloka‘i, 850-900 on Kaua‘i, and 457 on the island of Hawai‘i.

Conservation Efforts:
Many public and private organizations have been actively operating and supporting propagation programs to reestablish nēnē in the wild. The State of Hawai‘i reintroduced them to Kīlauea Point and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuges. Nēnē have also been introduced successfully on Moloka‘i under a Safe Harbor Agreement between Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch, DOFAW, and the Fish & Wildlife Service. A programmatic SHA for the entire island of Moloka‘i was finalized in 2003 to allow landowners to develop individual cooperative agreements to help recover nēnē. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in England has also played a major role in the survival of nēnē.

As of 2009, over 2,700 captive-bred nēnē have been released statewide either on public lands or private lands managed under cooperative agreements with State and Federal resource agencies. Nēnē have been raised in captivity by the Zoological Society of San Diego at the Maui Bird Conservation Center at Olinda and the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island .

Nēnē was listed as an endangered species in 1967 under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The nēnē recovery plan was published in 1983. A draft recovery plan was approved in 2004. It outlines the essential elements to accomplish a goal of re-establishing nēnē to self-sustaining levels statewide. These elements are to minimize the mortality rate in the wild, continue release of captive-bred birds where needed, continue predator control, and continue research to protect and improve habitat where nēnē can maintain their populations naturally.”

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/fauna/HIgoose.html

This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

BirdLife International 2012. Branta sandvicensis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 06 March 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/100600383/0

ʻōhiʻa Lehua

Tip: You can find the ʻōhiʻa lehua on our Nahele blend

The ʻōhiʻa lehua[2] (Metrosideros polymorpha) is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaiʻi. It is a highly variable tree, being 20–25 m (66–82 ft) tall in favorable situations, and much smaller when growing in boggy soils or on basalt. It produces a brilliant display of flowers, made up of a mass of stamens, which can range from fiery red to yellow. Many native Hawaiian traditions refer to the tree and the forests it forms as sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess, and to Laka, the goddess of hula.

Metrosideros polymorpha is the most common native tree in the Hawaiian Islands, tolerating a wide range of soil conditions, temperature, and rainfall. It grows from sea level right up to the tree line at elevations of 2,500 m (8,200 ft) and is commonly found in moist and dry forests, high shrublands, and is a colonizer of recent lava flows. It is relatively slow growing. Dominant in cloud forests above 400 m (1,300 ft), the tree is also common in seasonally wet forests, where it may be dominant or form mixtures with the native Acacia koa.

The reddish brown heartwood of M. polymorpha is very hard, fine textured, and has a specific gravity of 0.7.[3] In native Hawaiian society, it was used in house and heiau construction, as well as to make papa kuʻi ʻai (poi boards), weapons, tool handles, hohoa (round kapa beaters), and kiʻi (statues and idols).[4] Although the trunk of ʻōhiʻa was not used to make the kaʻele (hull) of waʻa (outrigger canoes), it was used for their nohona waʻa (seats), pale (gunwales), and pola (decking). Wae (spreaders) were made from the curved stilt roots of ʻōhiʻa. Pā (fencing) was made from the wood due to its availability; kauila (Colubrina oppositifolia or Alphitonia ponderosa), more durable woods when in contact with soil, was rarer. As the wood burned hot and cleanly, it was excellent wahie (firewood). The lehua (flowers) and liko lehua (leaf buds) were used in making lei.[1] The flowers were used medicinally to treat pain experienced during childbirth.[5]

ʻŌhiʻa lehua is one of the few honey plants that is native to the Hawaiian Islands.[1][6]
Metrosideros polymorpha forests in Hawaiʻi have been invaded by a myriad of alien species. In the wet forests these include the strawberry guava (Psidium littorale), albizia (Falcataria moluccana), and “purple plague” (Miconia calvescens). In drier areas, problematic invaders include faya tree (Myrica faya) and Christmasberry (Schinus terebinthifolius). Alien grasses such as meadow ricegrass (Ehrharta stipoides) may form an understory that prevents or inhibits natural regeneration of the forests. In drier areas, M. polymorpha has to compete with silk oak (Grevillea robusta) and fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum). While ʻōhiʻa itself remains extremely abundant, some species that depend on it such as the ʻakekeʻe (Loxops caeruleirostris) and longhorn beetles in the genus Plagithmysus have become endangered due to shrinkage of forest areas.

Source:

http://209.20.75.37/taxa/60447-Metrosideros-polymorpha

 

Pinapinao - Flying Earwig Hawaiian Damselfly

Tip: you can find the pinapinao on our Wai blend

Flying Earwig Hawaiian damselfly (Megalagrion nesiotes)

Photo Credit: David Preston

http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/endangered/nesiot.html

This species has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Polhemus, D.A. 2006. Megalagrion nesiotes. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 April 2013.

For further information on the status of this species see:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/59741/0

Damselflies are insects in the order Odonata, and are close relatives of dragonflies, which they resemble in appearance. Damselflies, however, are slender-bodied and fold their wings parallel to the body while at rest, which readily distinguishes them from their dragonfly relatives, which hold their wings out perpendicular to the body while not in flight.

The flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly and the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly are
unique, endemic insects found only in the Hawaiian Islands. Historically found on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly has not been seen on the island of Hawaii for over 80 years. Currently, the species is known only from one location on Maui. The Pacific Hawaiian damselfly was historically found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Kahoolawe and Niihau. Currently, the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly is known only from the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Molokai.

The Hawaiian Islands are well known for several spectacular evolutionary
radiations (the rapid evolution of new species from a single ancestral type, as a result of adaptation and divergence in response to new ecological conditions) resulting in unique insect fauna found
nowhere else in the world. One such group, which began its evolution perhaps as long as 10 million years ago (Jordan et al. 2003, p. 89), is the narrowwinged Hawaiian damselfly genus Megalagrion. This genus appears to be most closely related to species of Pseudagrion elsewhere in the Indo- Pacific (Zimmerman 1948a, pp. 341, 345).

The Megalagrion species of the Hawaiian Islands have evolved to occupy as many larval breeding niches (different adaptations and ecological
conditions for breeding and development of larvae, including chemical, physical, spatial, and temporal factors) as all the rest of the world’s damselfly species combined, and in terms of the number of insularendemic
(native to only one island) species, are exceeded only by the radiation of damselfly species of Fiji in the Pacific (Jordan et al. 2003, p. 91).

Native Hawaiians apparently did not differentiate the various species, but
referred to the native damselflies (and dragonflies) collectively as ‘‘pinao,’’ and to the red-colored damselflies specifically as ‘‘pinao ula.’’

Beginning with the extensive stream and wetland conversion, alteration, and
modification, and degradation of native forests through the 20th century,
Hawaii’s native damselflies, (…) experienced a tremendous reduction in available habitat. In addition, predation by a number of nonnative species that have been both intentionally and, in some cases, inadvertently introduced into the Hawaiian Islands is a significant and ongoing threat to all native Hawaiian damselflies.

The flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly is a comparatively large and elongated
species. The males are blue and black in color and exhibit distinctive, greatly enlarged, pincer-like cerci (paired appendages on the rearmost segment of the abdomen used to clasp the female during mating).
It is for the males’ elongated abdominal appendages and their resemblance to those found on earwigs (order Dermaptera) that the species is named. Females are predominantly brownish in color.

The biology of the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly is not well understood, and it is unknown if this species is more likely to be associated with standing water or flowing water (Kennedy 1934, p. 345; Polhemus 1994,
p. 40). The only confirmed population found in the last 6 years occurs along a single East Maui stream and the adjacent steep, moist, riparian talus slope (a slope formed by an accumulation of rock debris), which is
densely covered with Dicranopteris linearis (uluhe), a native fern. Adults of the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly have been observed to perch on
vegetation and boulders, and to fly slowly for short distances above this
particular stream within the one known remaining habitat site. When disturbed, the adults fly downward within nearby vegetation or between rocks, rather than up and away as is usually observed with aquatic Hawaiian damselfly species.

It is hypothesized that the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly may now be
restricted to what is perhaps suboptimal habitat, where periodic absences of the species due to drought may be expected and might explain the lack of
observations of the species (Foote 2007).
Some researchers also believe that overcollection of this species by
enthusiasts may have impacted some populations in the past (Polhemus
2008).
It is further possible that the individuals observed in this area are
actually part of a larger population that may be located in the extensive belt of uluhe habitat located upslope, where the habitat is predominantly native shrubs and matted fern understory (Foote 2007; Hawaii Biodiversity and Mapping Program (HBMP) 2006).

Source:
Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 121 / Thursday, June 24, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
Downloadd on April 2, 2013 at:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-24/pdf/2010-15237.pdf#page=1

Additional resources:

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=I05X

Pueo - Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl

Tip: You can find the pueo on our Lani blend

Photo Credit: Jack Jeffrey

Pueo / Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl / Asio flammeus sandwichensis

SPECIES STATUS:

State listed as Endangered on O‘ahu State recognized as Endemic at the subspecies level NatureServe Heritage Rank G5/T2 –

Species secure/Subspecies imperiled

SPECIES INFORMATION:

The pueo, or Hawaiian short-eared owl, is an endemic subspecies of the nearly pandemic short-eared owl (Asio flammeus; Family: Strigidae). The species is thought to have colonized the Hawaiian Islands sometime after the arrival of Polynesians. Unlike most owls, pueo are active during the day (i.e., diurnal), and are commonly seen hovering or soaring over open areas. Like short-eared owls in continental environments, those in Hawai‘i primarily consume small mammals. Their relatively recent establishment on Hawai‘i may have been tied to the rats (Rattus exulans) that Polynesians brought to the islands. Little is known about the breeding biology of pueo, but nests have been found throughout the year. Males perform aerial displays known as a sky dancing display to prospective females. Nests are constructed by females and are comprised of simple scrapes in the ground lined with grasses and feather down. Females also perform all incubating and brooding. Males feed females and defend nests. Chicks hatch asynchronously and are fed by female with food delivered by male. Young may fledge from nest on foot before they are able to fly and depend on their parents for approximately two months.

DISTRIBUTION:

Found on all the Main Hawaiian Islands from sea level to 2,450 meters (8,000 feet).

ABUNDANCE:

Unknown. Because of relatively few detections, the Hawaiian Forest Bird Survey did not estimate the population size of the pueo. Pueo were widespread at the end of the 19th century, but are thought to be declining.

LOCATION AND CONDITION OF KEY HABITAT:

Pueo occupy a variety of habitats, including wet and dry forests, but are most common in open habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, and montane parklands, including urban areas and those actively managed for conservation. Because of a lack of historical population data and the species’ current, broad habitat use, key habitat variables are difficult to determine. Pueo occur in many areas that are managed by the Sate of Hawai‘i or Federal agencies.

THREATS:

Pueo are likely susceptible to the same factors that threaten other native Hawaiian birds, including: loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals, and disease. However, their persistence in lowland, non-native and rangeland habitats suggests that they may be less vulnerable to extinction than other native birds, especially because they may be resistant to avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) and avian pox (Poxvirus avium).

Despite this, for pueo populations, the following are of particular concern:
ƒ -“Sick owl syndrome”. Mortality on Kaua‘i has been attributed to this syndrome, which may be related to pesticide poisoning or food shortages.
ƒ -Predation. Because pueo nest on the ground, their eggs and young are vulnerable to predation by rats (Rattus spp.), cats (Felis silvestris), and the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus).
ƒ -Habitat loss. May be particularly important to O‘ahu pueo populations.
ƒ -Contaminants or toxins. Because pueo are top predators, fat-soluble contaminants may accumulate in prey species; may be related to “sick owl syndrome” (see above).
ƒ -Human interaction. Hunting behavior and habitat use predispose pueo to vehicular collisions, which have been documented on Lāna‘i and the island of Hawai‘i.

CONSERVATION ACTIONS:

Pueo likely have benefited from management activities designed to conserve other endangered birds. They also may benefit from game bird management; high densities of pueo occur on lands where game birds also are common. In addition to these efforts, future management specific to the pueo may include the following:
ƒ -Determine population trends, especially on islands where “sick owl syndrome” has been
documented.
ƒ -Public outreach and education.
ƒ -Continue protection and management of wildlife sanctuaries and refuges.

MONITORING:

Regular island-wide population surveys are necessary to determine population trends for this species. This information is needed to assess the efficacy of habitat management efforts.

RESEARCH PRIORITIES:

Research priorities specific to pueo include the following:
ƒ -Analysis of population trends and changes in habitat occupancy, especially on O‘ahu.
ƒ -Determine the cause of “sick owl syndrome” and its potential effect on populations.
ƒ -Quantify the number of vehicular collisions and determine the level of threat to
populations.”

Source: Hawaii’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, October 1, 2005

Downloaded on Mar 6, 2013 from: http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/cwcs/files/NAAT%20final%20CWCS/Chapters/Terrestrial%20Fact%20Sheets/raptors/pueo%20NAAT%20final%20!.pdf

Uluhe - False Staghorn Fern

Tip: you can find the uluhe fern on our Wai blend

“Dicranopteris linearis is a common species of fern known by many common names, including Old World forked fern and uluhe (Hawaiian). It is one of the most widely distributed ferns of the wet Old World tropics and adjacent regions, including Polynesia and the Pacific.[2] In parts of the New World tropics its niche is filled by its relative, Dicranopteris pectinatus.[2]

The fern is a keystone species in Hawaiian ecosystems, and dominates many areas in Hawaiian rainforests.[2] It occurs on all the main Hawaiian islands.[3] As a pioneer species in ecological succession, it can colonize bare sites such as lava flows, talus, and abandoned roads. When the fern grows onto a new site it produces layers of stems and leaves repeatedly until there is a network of vegetation. The leaves die and the stems are very slow to decompose, so the network persists. The network then fills with organic forest detritus, forming a litter layer which can be a meter thick. The network is penetrated by the fern’s rhizomes and roots, such that the fern serves as its own substrate.[2] Where the fern is eliminated, invasive species of plants can move in, so “one important function” of the fern is to prevent these plants from encroaching on the rainforest.[2] The fern may have allelopathic effects, preventing the growth of other plants.[6] Also, the fern is a very productive member of the forest ecosystem; despite being a relatively small amount of the biomass in the forest it accounts for over half of the primary productivity in some areas.[2]”

Sources:

http://209.20.75.37/taxa/false_staghorn_fern

 

This section of our website will help you to discover the amazing, rare and beautiful world of Hawai’i's native flora and fauna, as well as some of the Polynesian introduced “canoe” plants found in Hawai’i.
In particular, we will feature information about threatened and endangered species of native and endemic flora and fauna of Hawai’i.  We will primarily feature native flora & fauna depicted on our PONOinfusions packaging.  We hope that this will provide you with a more intimate and rewarding experience when enjoying our infusions, knowing that your purchase of PONOinfusions products helps to support restoration and conservation efforts in Hawai’i.

Much of the photography featured on our website is our own, which we have taken while in the field exploring the beauty of Hawai’i.  We are excited to be able to share these images with you through our website.  Unless otherwise stated, photos found on our website are copyrighted material of JUSTInfusions LLC.

Other photos are taken by professional wildlife photographers and scientists who have provided us with permission to share their photography with you.  The photos that are not our own tend to be of rare and difficult to find flora & fauna.  Photos that are not our own are credited to the owner.

Many of the descriptions of the various flora & fauna featured in this section of our website are sourced from various organizations involved in restoration & conservation efforts here in Hawai’i and referenced sources are provided.

Our intent with this section of our website is for it to serve as an educational and inspirational resource for individuals interested in learning more about and supporting the restoration and conservation efforts for Hawai’i's native flora & fauna.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions as we continue to develop and improve our Native Flora & Fauna section.