Printable Activities Make Travel Fun

Hawaii State Insect: Pulelehua, the Kamehameha Butterfly

Pulelehua (Kamehameha Butterfly)

PulelehuaScientific name: Vanessa tameamea

The pulelehua, or Kamehameha butterfly, is one of only two butterflies native to Hawai'i. With its bright red wings, bold black borders, and 2 1/2 inch wingspan, pulelehua are often seen fluttering near koa trees, where adults feed on the sweet sap oozing from broken branches.

Pulelehua lay their eggs on the mamaki plant, a native shrub that was sometimes used by Hawaiians to make a coarse tapa (the leaves are also used to make an herbal tea). Young caterpillars protect themselves by cutting a flap of leaf, pulling it over themselves, and securing it with silk to make a shelter. As they grow older, the caterpillars sit motionless on the branches, waiting for nightfall. Once the sun has set and the forest birds have gone to sleep, it is safe for the caterpillars to venture onto the leaves to eat. Even their chrysalis is well-camouflaged, looking like a withered leaf. In a little over two weeks, the chrysalis splits open, and out pops a beautiful pulelehua!

Print and Fold Hawaii's State Butterfly, the Pulelehua

Difficulty: Easy


1. Print and cut out origami butterfly.

2a. With printed side facing down,
2b. Fold in half along diagonal line.
2c. Unfold and repeat the diagonal fold on other side.

3a. With printed side facing up,
3b. Fold in half along horizontal line.
3c. Unfold. Your origami should be creased as illustrated.

4. Carefully fold along creases, forming a "tent" as illustrated.

5a. Fold the right "tent" corner up along line A, as illustrated.
5b. Fold the left "tent" corner up along line B, as illustrated.

6a. Turn butterfly origami over, printed side down.
6b. Fold down along line C.
6c. Pinch or crease in center as illustrated.

Your butterfly origami is ready to fly!

Pulelehua (Kamehameha Butterfly) Origami

©2009 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved.

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