Mauna Kea’s high-elevation dry forest and the palila that live here are under constant threat from introduced animals, plants, insects, diseases, drought, and fire.
Naio thrips feed on the young leaves of naio trees and can cause defoliation and even death.
Naio thrips were first detected on Hawai‘i Island in the winter of 2008. They feed on young leaves of naio trees, the second most common tree in the high-elevation dry forest after māmane. Feeding by naio thrips causes branch die-back, and can eventually result in tree death. Additionally, alien species of parasitic and predatory wasps and ants may reduce availability of insect food sources for palila.
Naio thrips cause the new leaves of the naio to become deformed and die.