Hawaii Biological Survey’s


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53. Wekiu Bug

Scientific name: Nysius wekiuicola

Hawaiian Name: —

Classification: Phylum: Arthropoda. Class: Insecta. Order: Hemiptera. Family: Lygaeidae

Origin: Endemic.

Status: Reduced populations.

Distribution: Summit of Mauna Kea.

Map: —

The wekiu bug is the highest living insect in Hawai‘i. it occurs at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island where it preys on insects that blow up from lower elevations and onto the snow at the top of the mountain. It seems to like its food fresh-frozen! It is unusual because it is flightless—and has a related flightless cousin that is known only from the top of Mauna Loa that has similar feeding habits!

   Photo by Ronald Englund ©HBS