Saturday, July 11, 2009

A little lesson in Hawaiian fish names

Yesterday, we snorkeled Hanauma Bay. It's simply one of the most fantastic places to see Hawaiian fish. So, instead of trying to regurgitate the experience, I thought I'd give you all a little lesson in fish ID - Hawaiian style!

Meet Canthigaster jactator, the Hawaiian Spotted Puffer. This species is endemic to Hawaii, and is found no where else in the world. Ok, so this one is bad to start with because it has no Hawaiian name, but I thought the fact that it's endemic was too cool not to mention it.

Next is Umaumalei, or the Orange Spine Unicornfish (Naso lituratus). That's oo-mou-ma-lay, with the "ou" as in "out" or "house"

A fan favorite and the only species in its genus is the Kihikihi (kee-hee-kee-hee), known in English as the Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus)

Weighing in at full size and about 2' long, this Ponuhunuhu (po-noo-hoo-noo-hoo) is a whopper to meet up close like this. You might also call it a Stareye Parrotfish (Calotomus carolinus).

In the center of this shot is the Hawaiian state fish, the Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a (hoo-moo-hoo-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah), otherwise known as the Reef or Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus). Alongside it with the blue head is a Hinalea lauwili (hee-nah-lie lou-vee-lee), or Saddle Wrasse (Thalassoma duperrey). There are some other small wrasses in there, but I'm not sure which they are.

Further along we find a couple of Kikakapu (kee-kah-kah-poo), or Threadfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga).

Another whopper of a parrotfish, this Uhu Palukaluka (oo-hoo pah-loo-kah-loo-kah) shows off its size compared to the mini 'Awela (ah-vay-lah). That's a Redlip Parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus) and a Christmas Wrasse (Thalassoma trilobatum) for you non-Hawaiians.

Sniffing through the bottom sand for food we find a Weke'a'a (weh-keh-ah-ah), or Yellow stripe goatfish (Mulloidichthys flavolineatus).

One of the more interesting looking fish is the Kala (kah-lah), aptly named in English the Bluespine Unicornfish for its odd headgear (Naso unicornis).

Here we see a school of Manini (mah-nee-nee) or Convict tangs (Acanthurus triostegus) eating their way across the reef, with a few other fish joining in for safety in numbers.

This guy is also known to the Hawaiians as Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a (hoo-moo-hoo-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah), though it is a different species than the one we saw before (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) and is called the Lagoon Triggerfish in English. This one was feisty - I got this shot because he was letting us know very clearly we were on his turf by swimming at us and waggling while opening and closing his mouth.

While snorkeling, we almost got a little too close to this Puhi (poo-hee). This particular species, the Peppered Moray Eel (Gymnothorax pictus), is actually rare around Oahu, so it was a real find - except if we got too close! He let us know to back off, and we did.

So there you go - a little lesson in Hawaiian fish ID. I'll let you know what others we find on our travels... until then, Aloha!


Eric Heupel said...

Awesome Hawaiian lesson and splendid fish! Much nicer to ID than the Cod, hake, herring and haddock I am ID'ing. Any fun associations? Anyone following the goatfish or vice versa?

Allie said...

Great pic of Rhinecanthus aculeatus!

I need to come visit, and you need to take me snorkeling! I'll have to start looking through the Hawaiian fish ID book you gave me, and brush up on my Hawaiian as well. And my karaoke. :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos. Thanks for the lesson.

Rose Ragai said...

Great post Christie and you have a great photos of those fishes. It was fun to learn fish names in Hawaiian..:D

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Scott said...

Great photos! I just returned from Maui on June 20th and seeing these fish again on your blog has sent me into snorkeling withdrawals...

Thanks for sharing.

London escorts said...

I have never thought that fish can be so beautiful. it's a pity we don't have such fishes in EU