Hawaii is like no other place on Earth. Raised above the sea by volcanic action, the islands are home to a fascinating array of animals, most of which are found nowhere else in the world. Because the Hawaiian Islands are so isolated – more than two thousand miles from any large land mass – many of its native animals have developed unusual adaptations that help them survive.
For example, Hawaii has whales that sing, dolphins that spin through the air, bats that turn somersaults as they feed, shrimp that climb waterfalls, killer caterpillars, and tiny blood-sucking bugs that live on the summit of Mauna Kea.
Hawaii’s habitats are fragile however, and many of its native species are in danger of becoming extinct. Habitat destruction, pollution, development, and introduced species have all contributed to the loss or diminishment of Hawaii’s native species. Only through education and thoughtful conservation can we prevent the disappearance of any more of Hawaii’s unique animals. The first step is to learn about these animals and begin to appreciate their special characteristics.