Kamehameha (Vanessa tameamea)
A popular but rarely seen butterfly, the Kamehameha is named after one of Hawaii’s famous royal houses. This butterfly, or pulelehua in Hawaiin, lays strange eggs that look like miniature, ridged pearls. As they grow, the caterpillars create leaf tents of mamaki leaves.
In the adults’ bright, speckled orange and black wings, and fluttering flight paths, you can see their relation to other painted ladies and admirals. The wing undersides are green and brown to camouflage with the forest. Like the other native Hawaiin butterfly, this one is drawn to koa trees, but particularly enjoys the sap holes, where they may get tipsy from fermented sap.