Hawaiian blue butterfly

An endemic Hawaiian blue butterfly at the Palila Forest Discovery TrailAn endemic Hawaiian blue butterfly at the Palila Forest Discovery Trail

This endemic Hawaiian blue butterfly was flitting around at the Palila Forest Discovery Trail, on the southwest flank of Mauna Kea. This one is, I think, a female with its bright underside and uniformly brown top.

The butterfly is also known as the Koa butterfly, since its caterpillar feeds on that tree. I don’t think Koa trees are found in the trail area, but ‘A‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa), an indigenous Hawaiian plant, does grow there and that’s another plant the caterpillar will eat.

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