IUCN

(Honolulu) – The deep, beautiful orange and black hue of Hawai’i’s official state insect is well known by visitors to native forests, and cultural practitioners. It is considered a critical pollinator for numerous native plants. The Kamehameha butterfly, like so many insects, plants, and animals in Hawai’i, is being crowded out of its traditional habitat by ever-encroaching human presence, the introduction of invasive predator species, and global climate change. Although the butterfly is historically known from all the main Hawaiian Islands (Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Maui, and Hawai’i), it is no longer found in some areas where it used to be common and it appears to be declining. The Pulelehua Project includes an effort to map current populations of the Kamehameha butterfly using observations submitted by the public, combined with surveys of remote areas by scientists. Pulelehua is the Hawaiian word for butterfly.