Maui News

History of the Kamehameha Butterfly Traced in New Children’s Book

February 14, 2021, 7:43 AM HST
* Updated February 14, 8:07 AM
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Hawai‘i’s native butterfly, the Kamehameha butterfly, is a unique member of the insect kingdom. These are some of the things children of all ages will learn in the just-released educational book, “Butterfly for a King.” 

*Video: Courtesy Lee and Low Books via DLNR

The book traces the history of Hawai‘i’s official state insect, starting from when the Hawaiian Islands were formed to the present day, according to Will Haines an entomologist and butterfly researcher with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Haines’ research is featured in the book. 

The children’s story is illustrated by Susan L. Roth and authored by Cindy Trumbore, who the islands to research the unique butterfly. 

“When the author and illustrator were here, we took them into the field as a sort of ground-truthing exercise. They interviewed me, visited our butterfly rearing facility, and saw butterflies and the plants that support them,” Haines said. 

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The book includes stories of various people involved in the protection of the Kamehameha butterfly, including the school children who petitioned the state legislature to make it the state insect.

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“Some of the text is very simple so young keiki can follow the story and then it includes an appendix for older children who want to learn more,” said Haines. A teacher’s guide is available for educators who want to use it as a textbook in the classroom. 

While the Kamehameha butterfly is not currently listed as an endangered or threatened species, it faces many threats, including loss of habitat and predation.

“Butterfly for a King.” PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Learn more here.

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