Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC)
Kiai Moku
A monthly column in The Maui News

Kiai Moku is Maui Invasive Species Committee's new monthly column in The Maui News. Featured the second Sunday of each month, Kiai Moku educates readers about an invasive species that MISC and its partners are working to control in Maui County.
Petrel covered with ants Ants a major problem for birds PDF icon New (14 October 2012)
The Hawaiian archipelago is crawling with ants and not a single one belongs here. Controlling the ants help seabird chicks and benefit the entire ecosystem.

uau (Pterodroma sandwichensis) Once plentiful uau birds now face habitat loss, predators PDF icon (9 September 2012)
Hawaiian petrel - uau (Pterodroma sandwichensis)
Before the arrival of rats, cats, and humans, Hawaiian petrel were so plentiful they blackened the sky... [more info about Hawaiian petrel]

detector dog Hawaii detector dog program is returning PDF icon (12 August 2012)

Man's best friend is lending a nose to sniff out invasive pests.

iiwi How climate change affects the rare 'i'iwi PDF icon (8 July 2012)
'i'iwi (Vestiaria coccinea)
Warmer temperatures mean mosquitos and avian malaria spread to higher altitudes, squeezing populations of native birds like 'i'iwi into the cloud zone. [more info about 'i'iwi]

oopu nakea Maui's underwater world full of slippery surprises PDF icon (10 June 2012)

Hawaii's freshwater streams harbor fascinating native species. They don't need exotic aquarium fish and snails.

little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) Little fire ants have big impact PDF icon (13 May 2012)
Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata)
Imagine hundreds of stinging ants raining down as you pick fruit. Please, not in Maui's backyard.
[more info about Little Fire Ant]

wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) Biological controls in Hawaii have worked for the most part (8 April 2012)

The invasive Erythrina gall wasp that threatened our native wiliwili with extinction was controlled by introducing a parasitoid wasp. Biocontrol measures have been largely successful in Hawaii, despite the famous mongoose fiasco.
[more info about Erythrina gall wasp]

Pu'u Kukui rain forest Alien species disrupt collection of water in Hawaii rain forests PDF icon (11 March 2012)

When rain falls from the sky by the bucket-load it can be tempting to take water for granted, but the trip from raincloud to tap relies on effective, functioning natural systems. In Hawaii, alien plants disrupt the forest's ability to capture water.

anthurium flower Give your loved one the gift of local this Valentine's Day PDF icon (12 February 2012)

Buying local products helps the Maui economy and environment.

alula (Brighamia insignis) Simple measures can help in fight to stop invasive species PDF icon (8 January 2012)

This year, please consider making a resolution to help protect Hawaii from invasive species.

A Monteray pine grows insided Haleakala Crater (Pinus radiata) Polipoli fire may have aided pine tree spread into crater PDF icon (11 December 2011)
Monterey pine (Pinus radiata)
Pine trees growing among silverswords? The recent proliferation of invasive pines in Haleakala crater may be a result of pine's adaptation to fire. [more info about Monterey pine]

Miconia leaves attcked by predator (Miconia calvescens) Miconia may have predator PDF icon  (13 November 2011)
Miconia (Miconia calvescens)
A tiny nematode discovered in Brasil may have the potential to control miconia infestations. [more info about miconia]

ohia rust (Puccinia psidii) Plans in the pipeline to protect ohia PDF icon (9 October 2011)
ohia rust (Puccinia psidii)
A ban on the import of plants and foliage of the myrtle family can prevent the entry of an unwanted hitchhiker into Hawaii. [more info about ohia rust]

Invasives weeds harvested for art Positive spin on invasive species by artists, chefs PDF icon (11 September 2011)

Artists, chefs, hunters, and fishermen are using their talents to harvest invasive plants and animals, transforming them in innovative ways. [more info about Makawao sculpture made of invasive trees]

Makua Valley after fire Invasive vegetation creates cycle of fire around islands PDF icon (14 August 2011)
fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Many invasive species thrive in cycles of fire. In Hawaii, grass invasion alone is sufficient to start a cycle that converts forest into grassland. [more info about fountain grass]

Queensland silver wattle with it's distinct foliage. Forest and Kim Starr photo. (Acacia podalyriifolia) Invasive wattle tree taking hold upcountry PDF icon (10 July 2011)
black wattle (Acacia mearnsii), mangium wattle (Acacia mangium), Queensland silver wattle (Acacia podalyriifolia), earpod wattle (Acacia auriculiformis), water wattle (Acacia retinodes)
Not all relatives are welcome to our island home. Wattles, the unwanted cousins of our precious Acacia koa, have invaded Maui.
[more info about black wattle], [more info about mangium wattle], [more info about Queensland silver wattle], [more info about earpod wattle], [more info about water wattle]

kiwikiu found in the Hanawi Natural Area Reserve Rodent threat continues in Hanawi reserve areas (12 June 2011)

Rats and mice have made Hanawi home, but their dinner comes at a high price: native birds, bird eggs, plants, seeds, and insects. [Learn about removing rats to restore Hawaii at, and about Hawaii's offshore islets where rat eradication has been successful.]

A rat attacks a Laysan albatross Rats run amok on isles PDF icon (10 April 2011)
Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans), Norway rat (Rattus rattus)
Rats! [more info about the Polynesian rat], [more info about the Norway rat]

Lovebirds Release of pet birds poses threat to ecology PDF icon (13 March 2011)
You may imagine Tweetie flying free over our beautiful island, but please keep your pet bird in its cage.

Banana bunchy top virus symptoms Banana bunchy-top virus poses threat to plants in Hawaii PDF icon (13 February 2011)
banana bunchy top virus (BBTV)
Controlling and preventing the spread of the banana bunchy top virus is everybody's business. The disease threatens the back yard banana patch, commercial crops, and rare and culturally significant banana collections. [more info about banana bunchy top virus]

red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) Red-vented bulbul can alter ecosystems PDF icon  (3 January 2011)
red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
The red-vented bulbul is one of the world's worst invasive species. It's well-known on Oahu but has not become established on any other Hawaiian island - yet. Let's keep this bullying bird out of Maui. [more info about red-vented bulbul]

Veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) Keep an eye out for predatory veiled chameleons PDF icon  (12 December 2010)
veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus)
The veiled chameleon resembles the Jackson, but it's a worse pest. Look twice next time you see a chameleon - if it has a shark fin on its head and fleshy fringe down its belly, capture it and call the Maui Invasive Species Committee at 573-6472. [more info about veiled chameleon]

Rauvolfia vomitoria Rauvolfia vomitoria: A growing problem PDF icon (14 November 2010)
poison devil's pepper (Rauvolfia vomitoria)
This shrubby tree with an awful name could be even more invasive than miconia. [more info about poison devil's pepper]

albizia (Falcataria
moluccana) Used in reforestation, albizia now poses threat PDF icon (10 October 2010)
albizia (Falcataria moluccana)
Albizia is fast-growing and fixes its own nitrogen. The same characteristics that made albizia attractive for erosion control also make it a relentless invader. [more info about albizia]

Pampas grass decorating parade float (Cortaderia selloana) Pampas grass is an invasive, prolific plant PDF icon  (12 September 2010)
pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)
What was the "good" pampas in Maui backyards now is recognized as an invader lurking on the horizon. Please do not grow any kind of pampas grass on Maui. [more info about pampas grass]

tumbleweed (Salsola tragus) Noxious tumbleweed rolls on Maui PDF icon  (8 August 2010)
tumbleweed (Salsola tragus)
We love our paniolo heritage, but the tumbleweed is best left to Hollywood. [more info about tumbleweed]

Aroplectrus dimerus Biological enemy to stinging caterpillar to be set free on Maui PDF icon  (11 July 2010)
biocontrol agent (Aroplectrus dimerus)
nettle caterpillar (Darna pallivitta)
A gnat-sized stingless wasp may take some of the sting out of the nettle caterpillar's invasion on Maui. [more info about Aroplectrus dimerus and nettle caterpillar]

naio thrips (Klambothrips myopori) Maui naio could face threat from thrips PDF icon  (13 June 2010)
naio thrips (Klambothrips myopori)
Naio thrips are not yet known on Maui, but if you have native naio in your yard, keep an eye out for the symptoms of naio thrips: deformed leaves and "galling" on the new growth. [more info about naio thrips]

gorse (Ulex europaeus) Nothing wrong with 'eradication' PDF icon (9 May 2010)
gorse (Ulex europaeus), Himalayan raspberry (Rubus ellipticus), bingabing (Macaranga mappa)
Eradication of highly invasive plants is possible, if they are found before they become well established.
[more info about gorse]
[more info about Himalayan raspberry]
[more info about bingabing]

wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) Imported wasp saving wiliwili PDF icon (11 April 2010)
Erythrina gall wasp (Quadrastichus erythrinae)
Biocontrol measures are saving our precious's a wasp vs. wasp battle. [more info about Erythrina gall wasp]

Sign for coqui-free certification program A most unwanted neighbor - coqui frogs PDF icon (14 March 2010)
coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui)
Maui Invasive Species Committee is working hard to preserve Maui's quiet nights. [more info about coqui frog]

Paint-gun used for distributing herbicide New technology pivotal amid fight against invasive weeds PDF icon (14 February 2010)
Herbicide Ballistic Technology and Wet Blade Technology
Paint-ball guns that target weeds are among new technologies to apply herbicides. [videos about Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) and Wet Blade mechanical mower]

Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis)  photo by Forest and Kim Starr Fireweed has gotten a foothold PDF icon
fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis)
The pastures of upcountry Maui are ablaze with yellow-flowered fireweed, and ranchers and conservationists are feeling the heat. [more info about fireweed]

Asian melastome   (Melastoma candidum) 'Gambinos' of the plant world must be stopped PDF icon (13 December 2009)
Asian melastome (Melastoma candidum) and red melastome (Melastoma sanguineum)
Athough not on "most wanted" posters, Asian melastome and red melastome are members of Maui's most notorious crime family: the "Gambinos" of the plant world. [more info about Asian melastome and red melastome]

Little fire ant (Wassmania auropunctata) Residents urged to report unusual stinging ants PDF icon  (8 November 2009)
little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata)
The little fire ant proves that big pain can come in small packages. [more info about little fire ant]

Wayne Uradoma is inspecting an incoming avocado. ASAP quick to inspect air cargo for stowaways PDF icon  (11 October 2009)

Inspectors intercept invaders at the Alien Species Action Plan (ASAP) facility in Kahului.

Western yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica) Yellow jacket an aggressive invader PDF icon (13 September 2009)
Western yellow jacket (Vespula pensylvanica)
Fear the "meat bee" that will swarm and attack the hapless hiker or picnicker. [more info about Western yellow jacket from the Global Invasive Species Database]

jatropha (Jatropha curcas) Introducing biofuel plants: It isn't all good PDF icon (09 August 2009)
jatropha (Jatropha curcas)
The right biofuels can benefit Hawaii, but let's not trade potential savings at the pump for the cost of another invasive weed in our environment. [more info about jatropha (physic nut)]

Miconia (Miconia calvescens) photo by Forest and Kim Starr Miconia foes gather to share strategies PDF icon (12 July 2009)
Miconia (Miconia calvescens)
Maui Invasive Species Committee's International Miconia Conference was an opportunity for miconia foes to share knowledge and strengthen collective resolve to combat the weed smothering native landscapes in Hawaii and the Pacific. [more info about miconia]

fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) Maui, Lanai need not share PDF icon (14 June 2009)
fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
The origin and fate of Maui's and Lanai's environments are intertwined, but they need not share invasive species. [more info about fountain grass]

milk thistle (Silybum marianum) Blessed milk thistle serious threat PDF icon  (10 May 2008)
blessed milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
It's called "blessed" milk thistle, but this spiny invasive is no blessing for Maui. [more info about blessed milk thistle]

Forest and Kim Starr Invasive species along Maui roadsides to be catalogued PDF icon  (12 April 2008)

Look for a slow moving vehicle with a flashing yellow light as this couple scrutinizes 1200 miles of Maui's roadsides for 101 exotic plant species.

Spanish heath (Erica lusitanica) Alien looks like a local but ruins environment PDF icon  (8 March 2009)
Spanish heath (Erica lusitanica)
Spanish heath may resemble our beloved pukiawe, but don't let this beauty become Maui's latest beast. [more info about Spanish heath]

dart-poison frog (Dendrobates auratus) Quick work can keep invaders from moving in PDF icon  (08 February 2009)
dart-poison frog (Dendrobates auratus)
Strange gargling sounds lead to the discovery of a dart-poison frog on Maui. [more info about dart-poison frog]

Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) Kahili ginger recalls royalty, but it is not native PDF icon  (11 January 2009)
kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum)
Vast areas of native rainforest are being lost to an alien plant with a Hawaiian name. Kahili ginger, named for the flower's resemblance to the feathered standard carried by Hawaiian royalty, is anything but a Hawaiian plant. [more info about kahili ginger]

ohia rust photo by Rob Anderson Rust ruins rose apple; guardians fear for ohia PDF icon (14 December 2008)
ohia rust (Puccinia psidii)
A newly arrived fungal rust has decimated rose apple. Will the disease also claim rose apple's native cousin, the ohia? [more info about ohia rust]

Clidemia hirta photo by Forest and Kim Starr The genus is Clidemia, its genre is horror PDF icon (09 November 2008)
clidemia or soapbush or "Koster's curse" (Clidemia hirta)
Clidemia has escaped the natural controls of its homeland and has become a horror in our forests. [more info about clidemia]

Strawberry guava leaves infected with gall-forming biocontrol agent Tectococcus ovatus,  USDA Forestry Service photo Biocontrol precision is weapon against invaders PDF icon  (12 October 2008)
Brazilian scale insect (Tectococcus ovatus) targets invader strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum).
Can an introduced insect help preserve the biodiversity of Hawaii's native forests? An expert shares his view.
[more info about Tectococcus ovatus]

strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum ) Strawberry guava sows seeds of infestation PDF icon (14 September 2008)
strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum)
This tasty invader is choking our native forests. [more info about strawberry guava]

Parkinsonia aculeata thorns Parkinsonia, other invaders thorns in our island's side PDF icon (10 August 2008)
Parkinsonia (Parkinsonia aculeata)
Parkinsonia is one of Australia's worst weeds, but sharp eyes and quick action can save Maui from this nasty invader. [more info about Parkinsonia]

Invasive algae on Maui's north shore beach A little invasive algae goes a long way  PDF icon  (06 July 2008)
Invasive algae (Hypnea musciformis)
It only takes a small piece of algae attached to a fishing net, anchor, or snorkel gear to start a whole new population.
[more info about Hypnea musciformis]

plumeria flower Background checks for can ensure secure homeland for environment  PDF icon  (08 June 2008)

Many notorious plant invaders got their start in these islands as invited guests-intentionally brought here for agricultural, forestry, or horticultural purposes. Background checks could alert us to invasive species before they are introduced.

osage orange (Maclura pomifera) Osage orange helps make point about invading species  PDF icon  (11 May 2008)
Osage orange (Maclura pomifera)
The thorns of this viscious plant can puncture tires and were the inspiration for barbed wire. [more info about Osage orange]

rabbit (??) Rabbits excel at breeding and that's bad for islands  PDF icon  (09 April 2008)

Rabbits pair can create 144 babies per year. That's not good math for our islands.

ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis) Ivy gourd an invader that threatens the native plants PDF icon (09 March 2008)
Ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis)
If you see red fruit dangling like bright Christmas lights, you know the vine smothering your yard is ivy gourd. [more info about ivy gourd]

Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) Invasive plant no sweet thing PDF icon(10 February 2008)
Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum)
This small, fragrant tree seems ideal for a privacy hedge or windbreak--but it won't be confined to a nice hedge for long. [more info about sweet pittosporum]

rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) Poisonous rubber vine needs to be controlled PDF icon(13 January 2008)
Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora)
Beautiful to behold but toxic to touch, this vine has a poisonous and aggressive nature. [more info about rubber vine]

German wasp (Vespula germanica) Holiday gifts and trimmings not always eco-friendly PDF icon (09 December 2007)
German yellow jacket (Vespula germanica)
During this gift-giving season, it is also wise to be cautious of pests which may ruin your holiday cheer. [more info about the German wasp]

brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) If vigilant, Hawaii could avoid Guam's big problem with brown tree snake PDF icon (11 November 2007)
Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
Because the change was so gradual and the brown tree snake is so cryptic, it took nearly 30 years to identify the culprit on Guam. We now know that we can't afford to wait that long. [more info about brown tree snake]

nettle caterpillar (Darna_pallivitta.jpg) Caterpillar pest earns name with way it hurts humans as well as plants PDF icon  (14 October 2007)
Stinging nettle caterpillar (Darna pallivitta)
Maui's latest invader may cramp your style thanks to the painful punch packed by the stinging nettle caterpillar (Darna pallivitta). [more info about stinging nettle caterpillar]

cleaning shoes to prevent spread of weed seeds Invasive species arrive in many ways; prevention tips offered PDF icon  (09 September 2007)
Whether introduced intentionally or not, invasives cause great harm to our economy, environment, and quality of life. Preventing establishment of invasive species in new areas is easier and cheaper to manage than waiting until a species becomes an established pest.
MISC field worker scrubs her boots to remove fountain grass seeds.

Australian tree fern (Cyathea
cooperi) Australian tree fern's fast growth made it popular, makes it a pest PDF icon(12 August 2007)
Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi)
Used by many plant enthusiasts, Australian tree ferns seem to be the answer, but it is the same tendency to grow quickly that also makes them a threat to our native forests and watersheds. [more info about Australian tree fern]

Himalayan raspberry (Rubus ellipticus) Thorny invader thwarted thanks to a trained eye  PDF icon(08 July 2007)
Himalayan raspberry (Rubus ellipticus)
Originally from the foothills of the Himalayas in India, yellow Himalayan raspberry may be the most threatening raspberry that we have in the islands. [more info about Himalayan raspberry]

West Nile virus Hawaii is West Nile free, but vigilance needed  PDF icon (10 June 2007)
West Nile virus
Although there have been no reported cases of WNV in horses, mosquitoes, birds or people in Hawaii, WNV is knocking on the front door of our Aloha state and could arrive at any time. [more info about West Nile virus]

veiled chameleon (Chameleo calyptratus) Veiled chameleon is a threat to native birds and insects PDF icon (13 May 2007)
Veiled chameleon (Chameleo calyptratus)
Fully-grown veiled chameleons may be capable of eating small birds, such as the native apapane and native insects like the happy face spider. [more info about veiled chameleon]

banana bunchy top virus Banana virus threatens culture as well as economy PDF icon (08 April 2007)
Banana bunchy top virus
Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) stunts the growth of banana plants and may eventually cause them to stop producing fruit. There is no cure for the disease. [more info about banana bunchy top virus]

bingabing (Macaranga mappa) Trained eye spots bingabing, stems species' invasion PDF icon (11 March 2007)
Bingabing (Macaranga mappa)
With early detection, we can prevent the introduction and establishment of bingabing within Maui County and avoid having our forests and roadsides overtaken by this pest as has happened on neighboring islands. [more info about bingabing]

little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) Fire ant is little, but can cause big trouble PDF icon (11 February 2007)
Little fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata)
Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)
Fortunately for Maui County residents and visitors, little fire ants have not been reported here, but there is always the possibility that they could catch a free ride. [more info about little fire ants and red imported fire ants]

coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) Coqui's threat to island goes beyond being a noisy nuisance PDF icon (14 January 2007)
Coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui)
MISC actively works on 12 main coqui frog population sites on Maui while Molokai and Lanai celebrate being coqui-free. After a year and a half of stepped-up efforts on Maui, one site is now considered coqui-free, four are in a monitor phase, and seven are showing promising results with decreases in numbers of vocalizing males and infested acreage.
[more info about coqui frogs]

fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) Fountain grass, an example of why vigilance is needed PDF icon (09 December 2006)
Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Originally introduced as an ornamental plant, fountain grass has become an aggressive, habitat-altering invader.
[more info about fountain grass]

downy rose myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa) Downy rose myrtle is pretty, but not good for the isle environment PDF icon (12 November 2006)
Downy rose myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
Maui has had three known downy rose myrtle locations in the past-all of which have been controlled. Today it is possible that Maui is free of the pest, but there is always the chance of reintroduction. It is critical that Maui citizens become familiar with this invasive species and report it if rediscovered.
[more info about downy rose myrtle]

pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) Crews work hard to counter invasion of the prolific pampas grass PDF icon (08 October 2006)
Pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata and Cortaderia selloana)
MISC field crews annually survey the island by land and air to stop pampas from spreading across ranchlands and native habitats. To date, MISC has controlled nearly 15,000 pampas plants in residential and wilderness areas on Maui.
[more info about pampas grass]

mullien (Verbascum thapsus [Melastomataceae]) Mullein came to fight erosion, exists as threat to silversword, other plants PDF icon (10 September 2006)
Mullien (Verbascum thapsus)
With native Haleakala silverswords taking up to 50 years to seed compared to just two or three years for common mullein, a pest that is threatening native species on top Haleakala, it is easy to imagine how mullein might displace the silversword. Because of its invasive characteristics and the high risk to native species, mullein was declared a Hawaii State Noxious Weed in 1992.
[more info about mullien]

miconia (Miconia calvescens [Melastomataceae]) All hands can be part of defense against miconia invasion PDF icon (13 August 2006)
Miconia (Miconia calvescens)
Last April, a Makawao resident noticed an unusual plant growing in his yard. It had large leaves with purple undersides. Curious, he did some research and discovered it was miconia - a plant native to Central and South America that is invading Maui's rain forests.
[more info about miconia]

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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) is currently funded by grants from the Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service with support from PCSU (UH Manoa). Historically, HEAR has also received funding and/or support from the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), PIERC (USGS), the USFWS, HCSU (UH Hilo), and HALE (NPS).

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This page was created on 16 January 2007 by LF, and was last updated on 9 November 2012 by PN. Valid HTML 4.01!