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The Hawaiian State Fish

By Jonathan Howery

One of the cool things that you’ll get a chance to see while snorkeling with Hawaii Turtle Tours is the Hawaiian State fish, the the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. It is also known as the Hawaiian triggerfish or rectangular triggerfish. Hawaii’s State Legislature asked the Waikiki Aquarium and the University of Hawaii at Manoa to survey the public in order to officially select an official state fish. Children from around the island of Oahu led campaigns in order for the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa to become more popular and to be chosen. However, although it was selected, it wasn’t made official until 2006. The Humuhumunukunukuapuaa is represented in local culture through songs, commercials, and many different souvenirs.

Now for those of you who look at the word and have no idea how to say it, it is pronounced “who moo who moo nuu coo nuu coo ah puu ah ah.” The name itself, if you can’t say the whole thing, is just Humuhumu. The name of the Hawaiian state fish has several meanings. The most commonly known one is translated as “fish with a pig’s snout”. The fish makes a snorting noise when its taken out of the water that resembles the sound of a pig. When you translate directly from Hawaiian to English, the word or name Humuhumunukunukuapuaa is fish that comes out of the water and sounds like a pig.

The Humuhumu can grow up to 18 inches in length and has a diamond-shaped body. The fishes colorings are a mix of yellow, black, and blue. It lives in the coral reefs that surround the Hawaiian islands. The fish thrive in the pacific ocean and they feed on seaweed and crustaceans. Some fun facts about the Humuhumu, is that it sleeps on it’s side at night and has the defense mechanism to dim its body coloration when it sleeps or is felt threatened. It can also shoot water jet streams from its mouth for blowing away sand that covers crustaceans.

Enjoy your vacation here in the lovely Hawaiian Islands and if you have any questions about Hawaii Turtle Tours or about this blog, feel free to email at [email protected].


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