Unique Fauna and Flora of Hawaii

September 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most rewarding places on earth for the nature lover to explore. Even if you’re not an expert, you will be amazed at the unique flora and fauna found throughout the islands. One of the most particular things about Hawaii is how many species exist there and no where else. Most of these unique species evolved from very few species, diversifying so effectively that Hawaii is ripe with distinct and endemic species. This incredibly distinctive ecosystem can teach and amaze even the most committed city dweller.

The primary reason Hawaii’s plants and animals are so fascinating is because they are specific to Hawaii. You can’t see these species anywhere else in the world. The islands are so far from any shore (more than 2,000 miles) that the islands developed in their own little world, in a way. Hawaii’s flora and fauna is influenced not only by its isolation, but also by the great degree of diversity in environments found throughout the islands. Over 70 million years, Hawaii developed species of plants and animals in isolation from the rest of the world. The original species came through wind, waves and wings to find an unlikely home.

One thing that is unique about Hawaii is the lack of mammals. There are only two mammals native to Hawaii – the Hawaiian Monk Seal and the Hawaiian Hairy Bat. Although not a place for mammals, Hawaii is home to many different species of bird, the most famous of, which is the Nene or Hawaiian goose, the state bird of Hawaii.

Unfortunately, an ecosystem so unique and isolated can easily be adversely affected by foreign influences. When the Polynesians arrived in Hawaii, they brought with them many new species. This process increased drastically with the arrival of the Europeans. The unfortunate effect is that many of the native Hawaiian species are now endangered or have become extinct. Hawaii’s ecosystem is a fascinating study in evolution and the delicacy of the systems of life. The danger to these unique and fascinating species could carry a warning to all of us so that we try to preserve the nature that nurtures us,

While the native flora and fauna are one of the most impressive of Hawaiian offerings, it’s also worthwhile to take some time for the non-native animals introduced by Polynesians and Europeans, including wild horses on the Big Island. You might also find wild cattle, pigs, goats and sheep, though it’s possible that you don’t want to run into all of these creatures. In any case, you won’t be disappointed when you get out of the city and away from the beach and start to see some of the most spectacular and particular plants and animals in the world.


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