Latest effort from scientists hope to take damsels out of distress
The Orange black Hawaiian Damselflies once thrived in estuaries and marshes around Oahu. The small insect was also beneficial to humans because it ate mosquitoes and other bugs.
"They're a crucial part of biodiversity. This damselfly is a predator so it serves as a regulatory. It has a regulatory role in the ecosystem," Will Haines, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, said.
But ever since another species, the mosquito fish was introduced in the 1900s to fight the same problem. It also brought down the damselfly population.
"It used to be super common. The fish were introduced and now you can hardly find it anywhere," Haines said.
Scientists invested years hoping to save the species from extinction. The latest effort is raising larvae in a lab and releasing them into the wild once they become adults.
The grown damselflies are released at certain aquatic areas on the island. One location is in Manoa. But because they're still at risk, the insects are very fragile and not habitable in all wet lands.
"If there was a flood or somebody dumped some fish into that stream, it could easily wipe out a population in the island," Haines said. "There aren't that many aquatic habitats left that don't have these invasive predators in them so we're always looking for new places to release these damselflies."
Ideal locations are ponds and streams with no fish. If you have a suggestion, you can email it to email@example.com.