Threatened Seabirds Get Some Much Needed Protection
The American Bird Conservancy is proud to be one of the key partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will install the first predator-proof fence on Kauai, similar to the one at Kaena Point on Oahu, Hawaii. Once in place, the fenced enclosure will serve as the home of a new population of the threatened Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli). 
Photo credit: Brenda Zaun, USFWS read more here: TheGardenIsland

Threatened Seabirds Get Some Much Needed Protection

The American Bird Conservancy is proud to be one of the key partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will install the first predator-proof fence on Kauai, similar to the one at Kaena Point on Oahu, Hawaii. Once in place, the fenced enclosure will serve as the home of a new population of the threatened Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus newelli).

Photo credit: Brenda Zaun, USFWS

read more here: TheGardenIsland

A New Day for the Nēnē
Once lost, now found: the Hawaiian goose is rediscovered on Oahu.
by Purbita Saha
After being absent for nearly 300 years, Hawaii’s state bird the nene goose has finally come home to roost in Oahu.

The Associated Press was the first to break the news of this development. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a family of nene geese has taken up residence at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. The parents arrived on their own, before settling in and hatching three chicks. Fish and Wildlife says that human intervention was not a factor in bringing the endemic birds back to the island.
The nene goose was once omnipresent in Hawaii; scientists estimate that the population numbered 25,000 in 1778. But as the islands became colonized, the geese began to disappear. Currently, only 2,000 nenes remain in the wild. The birds can be found in small numbers on Kauai, Maui, and Molokai, though they’ve had the most success at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they were reintroduced in the ’70s. That effort presented a variety of challenges. There were mass casualties of geese and goslings due to feral cats, mongoose, cars, and even stray golf balls…
(read more: Audubon Magazine)
photograph by Brenda Zaun/USFWS/Flickr

A New Day for the Nēnē

Once lost, now found: the Hawaiian goose is rediscovered on Oahu.

by Purbita Saha

After being absent for nearly 300 years, Hawaii’s state bird the nene goose has finally come home to roost in Oahu.

The Associated Press was the first to break the news of this development. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a family of nene geese has taken up residence at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. The parents arrived on their own, before settling in and hatching three chicks. Fish and Wildlife says that human intervention was not a factor in bringing the endemic birds back to the island.

The nene goose was once omnipresent in Hawaii; scientists estimate that the population numbered 25,000 in 1778. But as the islands became colonized, the geese began to disappear. Currently, only 2,000 nenes remain in the wild. The birds can be found in small numbers on Kauai, Maui, and Molokai, though they’ve had the most success at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they were reintroduced in the ’70s. That effort presented a variety of challenges. There were mass casualties of geese and goslings due to feral cats, mongoose, cars, and even stray golf balls…

(read more: Audubon Magazine)

photograph by Brenda Zaun/USFWS/Flickr

Fighting Weeds to Save Seabirds

Albatrosses are reclaiming nesting areas on Midway Atoll Refuge as a plant pest yields to assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

For the first time in years, choking mats of an invasive plant pest are receding from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, opening critically needed nesting space for rare seabirds like the albatross. As cornstalk-high stands of Verbesina encelioides, or golden crownbeard, yield to an assault by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hope for the birds is rising.

More seabirds nest and more chicks survive in Midway’s native grass than in non-native Verbesina, finds the Service, which is conducting the Verbesina eradication with a $1 million National Wildlife Refuge System grant and matching funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Laysan and black-footed albatrosses nested at near-record levels in 2012-2013 at Midway Atoll in the Pacific, though biologists will need three or more years to know if the rise is due to Verbesina control. Another potentially promising sign: the January hatching of a short-tailed albatross chick, one of the world’s most endangered seabirds. The hatching was only the third in recorded history outside of three small islands near Japan; the earlier hatchings also occurred on Midway after plant control efforts began.

In addition to the three albatross species, the endangered Laysan duck and 18 other seabird species are expected to benefit from Verbesina’s removal…

(read more: USFWS - National Wildlife Refuge System)

Photos: Albatross in a verbesina-free area. (John Klavitter/USFWS). Next photos: Before and after.

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea)

…a species of Hawaiian Honeycreeper (Carduelinae) that is endemic to Hawaii, specifically the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu. ‘Apapane typically inhabit mesic an wet forests which are dominated by koa (Acacia koa) and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). They typically form small flocks and will forage through the canopies of M. polymorpha feeding on the nectar from their flowers. Like other birds they will supplement this diet with a variety of insects as well. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Fringillidae-Carduelinae-Drepanidini-Himatione-H. sanguinea

Images: Footwarrior and Caleb Slemmons

Bringing the Millerbird Back to Laysan Island
A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.
by Emma Bryce
In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.
The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.
"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.
The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…
(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)
illustration by John Gerard Keulemans

Bringing the Millerbird Back to Laysan Island

A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.

by Emma Bryce

In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.

The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.

"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.

The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…

(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)

illustration by John Gerard Keulemans

denizensofearth
unknown-endangered:

Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis)
Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Anas laysanensis lives only on the Hawaiian island of Laysan, although it was once widespread across the archipelago. It feeds mainly at night on aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and algae. They also run through swarms of brine flies with an open bill to catch them. Breeding usually occurs between April and June, and the female lays four eggs per clutch.
As the population of A. laysanensis is very small, it is under threat from disease and severe weather conditions. An invasive weed species has reduced the availability of breeding habitat, and invasive invertebrates compete with the ducks’ food sources. A parasitic nematode worm (Echinuria uncinata) is also having a negative impact on the population. 
Laysan Island is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge, and A. laysanensis is listed under Appendix I of CITES. Invasive weeds are under control, and a successful translocation of some ducks saw a new insurance population set up on Midway Atoll. Another reintroduction to the island of Kahoolawe has also been proposed. 
Photo: Ken Billington on Wikipedia.

unknown-endangered:

Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis)

Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Anas laysanensis lives only on the Hawaiian island of Laysan, although it was once widespread across the archipelago. It feeds mainly at night on aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and algae. They also run through swarms of brine flies with an open bill to catch them. Breeding usually occurs between April and June, and the female lays four eggs per clutch.

As the population of A. laysanensis is very small, it is under threat from disease and severe weather conditions. An invasive weed species has reduced the availability of breeding habitat, and invasive invertebrates compete with the ducks’ food sources. A parasitic nematode worm (Echinuria uncinata) is also having a negative impact on the population. 

Laysan Island is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge, and A. laysanensis is listed under Appendix I of CITES. Invasive weeds are under control, and a successful translocation of some ducks saw a new insurance population set up on Midway Atoll. Another reintroduction to the island of Kahoolawe has also been proposed. 

Photo: Ken Billington on Wikipedia.

Urchin ID - Maui, HI:
Creature ID please :) Found these little purple things clinging to the rocks on a beach in Maui. Picture was taken November 2013.
Paxon:
This is the Helmit Urchin aka Shingle Urchin (Colobocentrotus atratus), found on wave swept rocky shorelines around the Indo-Pacific. :)
http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/holding-on-in-rough-world.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingle_urchin

Urchin ID - Maui, HI:

Creature ID please :) Found these little purple things clinging to the rocks on a beach in Maui. Picture was taken November 2013.

Paxon:

This is the Helmit Urchin aka Shingle Urchin (Colobocentrotus atratus), found on wave swept rocky shorelines around the Indo-Pacific. :)

http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/holding-on-in-rough-world.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingle_urchin

libutron
libutron:

Pyramid pair - Hawaiian reef | ©Barry Fackler
Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Perciformes - Chaetodontidae).
Common names: Brushytoothed Butterflyfish, Pyramid Butterfly, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Shy Butterflyfish.
This species is widespread in the central and western Pacific from Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to Pitcairn north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to northern New South Wales and Rapa Iti. It has a depth range of 3-60 m. 
Hemitaurichthys polylepis is a common and widespread species. It is planktivorous and could be affected by climate-induced reductions in planktonic productivity. There do not appear to be any current threats to this species and it is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.
Source.

libutron:

Pyramid pair - Hawaiian reef | ©Barry Fackler

Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Perciformes - Chaetodontidae).

Common names: Brushytoothed Butterflyfish, Pyramid Butterfly, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Shy Butterflyfish.

This species is widespread in the central and western Pacific from Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to Pitcairn north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to northern New South Wales and Rapa Iti. It has a depth range of 3-60 m.

Hemitaurichthys polylepis is a common and widespread species. It is planktivorous and could be affected by climate-induced reductions in planktonic productivity. There do not appear to be any current threats to this species and it is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.

Source.

libutron
libutron:

Triton’s trumpet, redux - Hawaiian Reef | ©Barry Fackler
The Giant Triton or Triton’s trumpet, Charonia tritonis (Mollusca - Gastropoda - Ranellidae), is one of the biggest snails in the reefs, growing up to 2 feet long.
Many people think its shell is one of the most gorgeous in the world. Though the Giant Triton looks harmless, it is a predator and uses its teeth (radula) to inject its prey with a poison found in its spit. The poison stuns, or paralyzes, its prey, which the triton then eats alive at leisure.
This species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific oceans, Red Sea included.
Source

libutron:

Triton’s trumpet, redux - Hawaiian Reef | ©Barry Fackler

The Giant Triton or Triton’s trumpet, Charonia tritonis (Mollusca - Gastropoda - Ranellidae), is one of the biggest snails in the reefs, growing up to 2 feet long.

Many people think its shell is one of the most gorgeous in the world. Though the Giant Triton looks harmless, it is a predator and uses its teeth (radula) to inject its prey with a poison found in its spit. The poison stuns, or paralyzes, its prey, which the triton then eats alive at leisure.

This species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific oceans, Red Sea included.

Source

dendroica

biologicalmarginaliaThe Viper Dogfish

This shark’s teeth resemble those of Goblin Sharks, Frilled Sharks and Viperfish, but it’s actually a squaloid. This is remarkable because no other dogfish sharks have teeth that are so large, slender, and widely-spaced; they would appear to be more suited for grasping rather than cutting prey. This species was first discovered off Japan in 1986, described as Trigonognathus kabeyai in 1990, and given the common name “Viper Dogfish” in 2000.

The first image is from Wikipedia, the second is from Fishbase.

Wetherbee, B. & Katura, S. (2000) Occurrence of a Rare Squaloid Shark, Trigonognathus kabeyai, from the Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 54(4) 389–394.

ABC Bird of the Week:  O’aho Elepaio

The diminutive ʻElepaio (pronounced “el-a-pie-o”) had remarkable powers, according to native Hawaiians. Canoe-builders considered the bird an incarnation of their patron goddess Lea: If the bird pecked at a fallen koa tree, it was a sign that the tree was riddled with insects and unusable for boat-building. Farmers believed that this insectivorous bird was the incarnation of Lea’s sister goddess, Hina-pukuʻai, a patron of agriculture.

This bold and adaptable bird may indeed follow people when they enter its forest habitat, and quickly learns to exploit feeding opportunities created by human activity. Unfortunately, the Oʻahu ‘Elepaio—an Old World monarch flycatcher—is in serious decline on its native island, where it was once among the most common land birds. Declines have been so severe that the species is listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It is also a U.S. WatchList species…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

photo: Jack Jeffrey