Philodoria moths are about the size of an eyelash. Philodoria marginestrigata photographed next to a dime for scale.
Philodoria moths have thousands of tiny, metallic colored scales that cover their wings.
The host plants of these moths are endemic to Hawaii and many are threatened with extinction.
One of the many new species of Philodoria discovered as part of this research.
Philodoria have colonized nearly every Hawaiian Island, dispersing between islands via trade winds.
Many of Philodoria's host plants are found in pristine Hawaiian rainforest habitat.
Two researchers survey for rare Philodoria host plants at the center of Kauai Island.
By visiting high altitude Hawaiian cloud forests, researchers discovered several new species of Philodoria.
Some Philodoria host plants are so rare and endangered that they must now be hand pollinated to survive, because their pollinator is extinct.
The most pristine Hawaiian forests are also often the most inaccessible. Researchers use helicopters to access forest on Molokai to search for Philodoria.
Native Hawaiian and expert botanist Keahi Bustamente holds a leaf sample of Hesperomannia arborescens, one of Philodora's rarest host plants.
Some of Philodoria's host plants occur in the young lava flows on the Big Island.