Following the extraordinary response to my two articles on Hawaiian gods and goddesses I decided to start periodic entries on some of their other deities. For my first article on Hawaiian mythology click here: https://glitternight.com/2011/02/20/the-top-eleven-deities-in-hawaiian-mythology/

And for the second article click here: https://glitternight.com/2011/03/02/eleven-more-deities-from-hawaiian-mythology-2/ 

KUMUHEA – The Hawaiian god of caterpillars and a son of the god of war, Ku. He married a mortal woman but  would only spend nights with her because during the day he transformed into a human-sized caterpillar.

Curious about her husband’s disappearance at dawn every day his wife secretly followed him one day and witnessed his transformation. Horrified, she screamed, and when Kumuhea realized his wife knew his secret he was furious. In his anger he took to devouring leaves on all the trees in the jungles and forests.

Alarmed at Kumuhea’s rampage the people prayed to Kane, the god of the forests and jungles and all other wild plant life. Kane responded by coming down from the heavens and slaying Kumuhea, then slicing his remains into thousands of smaller caterpillars, spreading them throughout the world so that, thus scattered, the damage they caused would be dissipated.   



Filed under Mythology


  1. Kumuhea must be our favourite so far. Brianna loves caterpillars and every year she tries to keep some in a box that she carefully prepares for them. And I always end up tracking the ones that escape around the house …
    It’s fascinating to find that what is only a small and insignificant creature to most of us was considered worthy enough to have its own deity. It really makes you think about the role every little being plays in the universe.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I think it’s cute that Brianna does that for her little caterpillar friends. Plus I always enjoy your interesting takes on the subjects I write about. I never really thought about that particular angle of the Kumuhea story until you brought it up.

  3. lifewith4cats

    Now This is the laid bacl mellow hawians I would expect. Ku says, “I am so very very mad at you wife. My wrath makes me want to…. want to….eat some leaves wile inching through the trees!”

    yeah thats showin her Ku!!

  4. LMAO Yeah, I see what you mean. Dr Phil might encourage communication with his wife about why his feelings were hurt instead of munching on vegetation as an outlet.

  5. Wayne

    A caterpillar god! How awesome is that! This parthenon rocks!

  6. Karen

    I really loved the post so I Digged it.. your myth posts are my favorite .. not much into sports or bad movies ..

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  11. These myths are so interesting. I’m sick and tired of gods who are just from Greece or Germany. Get these gods a movie deal!

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  13. A big thank you for your article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  14. I enjoy your opinion on this topic and look forward to additional posts and comments. Thanks!

  15. Pingback: MORE HAWAIIAN GODS AND GODDESSES | Balladeer's Blog

  16. OH my GOSH! I LOVE this!!! I had no idea there even was a God of Caterillars in any mythology anywhere! I can’t wait to share this with my boyfriend….we are avid butterfly/caterpillar lovers/geeks. Thank You!!! 🙂

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