Identifying the Fish of Hawaii: Spotted Pufferfish

27 05 2016


Hawaiian Reef Etiquette

2 04 2016

Milletseed Butterflyfish

Hawaiian Reef Etiquette This short public service announcement is colorful and educational teaching viewers the proper behavior when watching the sea life in Hawaii. Highly recommended.

Here’s a cool website that lists various Hawaiian fish and their Hawaiian names and more common names here.

Fish of Hawaii: Kihikihi

20 07 2015
photo by Mila Zinkova taken in Kona

photo by Mila Zinkova taken in Kona

The Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus, called Kinikihi in Hawaiian, stands out in contrasting bands of black, white and yellow. They have relatively small fins so they prefer shallow reef waters and lagoons. Like the butterfly fishes, Moorish Idols mate for life. They often school as juveniles. Adult males tend to be aggressive toward one another.

They grow up to eight inches in length and are not long lived in captivity although they are popular aquarium fish.

The Moors in Africa believe them to be fish of happiness and with their colorful bodies and graceful patterns you can see why they bring a smile.

Fish of Hawaii: Lagoon Triggerfish

15 05 2015

This commonly seen fish prefers calm waters and lives in shallow areas and sandy spots. It is sometimes called a Picasso Triggerfish because of the yellow line that extends from it’s mouth giving it the look of an abstract piece of artwork. Perhaps more abstract to most and more challenging to spell than Mississippi is the Hawaiian name for this fish: humu­humu­nuku­nuku­āpua`a

Learning to spell the name of this fish will certainly win the hearts of islanders and before you get any bright ideas it is too many letters for Scrabble.


15 10 2011

Pāpa`i Thalamita crenata known as the Blue Pincher Crab is indigenous to the Pacific Islands and unlike most swimming crabs is most active in the daytime.

They are gray to greenish brown with a white tipped claws and a broad back band. Their bodies are sometimes pink and the upper part of their claws are blue. They grow to a width of approximately five inches. The live in brackish muddy areas and sandy areas of salt water. They dine on limu, small pieces of plant and animal matter, snails, and mangrove detritus.

Kū`ula: The Hawaiian God of Fishermen

15 09 2011

Kona Sunday Fisherman

Fishing has always been an important part of Hawaiian culture as is a deep respect for the bounty of the natural world that surrounds them in the sea. Many make regular offerings to Kū`ula the God of Fisherman.

Kū lived with his wife Hina and their son `Ai`ai in Hāna on the island of Maui. On the edge of the sea he walled off an area and kept all kinds of fish in what was thought to be the first fish ponds. Nearby he made offerings to a small shrine and because of this reverence was always able to land the fish he needed. Fish were said to come to his hook, net, or basket as he prayed for success in his endeavors even when friends and neighbors had no luck. He was always generous to share his catch with those whose fishing skills were less hones.

Fishing is an important part of sustaining a community and Kū`ula knew that it was important to be generous to share but also to conserve his catch in his fish ponds. He was always careful to make an offering of the first fish caught to the ko`a, the fishing shrine.

Learning Hawaiian Words: Laulau

15 11 2009

Early laulau contained pork and local fish rubbed with salt, wrapped in young taro leaves called lu`au. When the whaling industry brought salted butterfish and it became the “traditional” fish to use in laulau. The meat, fish and lu`au bundles were carefully wrapped in ti leaves then baked in an imu.

Hungry yet, feeling adventurous? Here are some laulau recipes.

Fish of Hawaii: ‘Aweoweo

15 08 2009

More commonly referred to as Hawaiian Bigeye, this native fish is laterally compressed and averages 10-12 inches long. Found at depths of 20-100 feet most commonly in caves in the day time and feeding up in the water column at night.

It feeds on zooplankton such as larval fish, crabs, and other crustacean larvae.

Snowflake Moray: Puhi Kapa in Hawaiian

15 06 2009

The Snowflake Moray, Echidna nebulosa known as Puhi Kapa in Hawaiian, is a tough eel to spot in that it blends in so well with its surroundings.

This small moray gets to lengths of 36 inches in the wild and swims more often in the open during the day than other eels.

It is a carnivore accustomed to eating krill, shrimp, silversides and octopus. Watch carefully when you are snorkeling and you may spot on of these nestled beneath a rock or near sandy surroundings.