Researchers with the Pulelehua Project are making progress in their efforts to restore and protect the Kamehameha Butterfly.
They are mapping current populations and reintroducing the species in areas that have been restored or in places where the insect's host plant can be planted.
"They used to be present across the state, across all habitat types that you can think of with the exception of lowland coastal habitats," DLNR entomologist, Cynthia King said.
"Insects and arthropods in general make up such a huge percentage of the biodiversity and almost all of that biodivsity is found only in Hawai'i. It's endemic to Hawaii and if it goes extinct here, it's extinct everywhere and that's one of the big reasons why its important to preserve habitat in Hawaii," said Dr. William Haines, Principal Investigator of the Pulelehua Project.
The Kamehameha butterfly is a critical pollinator for numerous native plants.