Potential for captive breeding and translocations of Hawaiian insects

Monday, April 4, 2016: 2:50 PM
Marlin (Pacific Beach Hotel)
William Haines , Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, HI
Populations of many, if not most, Hawaiian insects have suffered major declines in the past century due to habitat loss and introductions of invasive plants and animals. Although some endemic insects have been formally listed as threatened or endangered, the majority (over 5000 species) have not been targeted by conservation efforts. Restoration efforts in Hawaii have been widespread, but have focused primarily on removing invasive plants and replacing them with natives; very few attempts have been made to reintroduce native insects into newly restored areas. Although some native insects and other arthropods may be likely to colonize restored areas on their own, others may benefit from active human assistance, due to poor dispersal ability or high philopatry. Reintroductions may involve captive breeding through multiple generations, or simply capture from one site and release into another. If captive breeding programs are adopted, much care must be taken to maintain genetic diversity and minimize artificial selection or disease. To successfully reestablish native insect populations, whether through natural recolonization or reintroduction, restoration efforts will likely need to go beyond outplantings to include control or removal of predators such as ants and invasive fish. We discuss progress towards reintroduction programs for some native species, including the Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea), and Hawaiian orangeblack damselfly (Megalagrion xanthomelas).