The Koa Bug | Keiki Tee - green
100% Organic cotton | Designed in Hawaiʻi nei | Made in the USA
Scientists call this fabulous bug Coleotichus blackburniae, but most people know it as the "koa bug." It is probably the most stunning of all the native insects, in terms of having a wildly colored appearance. It belongs to a larger family called Scutelleridae, commonly known as jewel bugs or metallic shield bugs because of the brilliant coloration many species display. The outer covering, or exoskeleton, of the koa bug looks like someone took a ruby and messily sprayed it with an iridescent green paint. We hope this stunning bug is not becoming too rare, as one study says that a biocontrol introduced to fight the southern stink bug (an alien agricultural pest) is negatively impacting populations of koa bugs. Many people have not had the chance to lay eyes on these beauties, as they live mostly on koa (Acacia koa), ʻaʻliʻi (Dodonaea viscosa) and sometimes koaiʻa (Acacia koaia). However, they do like the non-native Acacia confusa, so if you happen upon that weedy tree, keep your eyes peeled. They should not be too hard to spot, as full-grown bugs are nearly three quarters of an inch long, making them Hawaiʻi's largest endemic bug. As other true bugs, these little critters don't chew. Instead, they have mouthparts for piercing plants and sucking out their juices.
Ka puʻu noʻe pili koa - The little colored bug that clings to the koa tree