Whales sing a new song every year!
Male humpback whales sing a complex song with identifiable phrases. The composition changes slightly over the course of the breeding season. By the next year, it’s a whole new tune!
Most of Hawai‘i’s green sea turtles migrate to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands to nest. They rely on starlight and the earth’s magnetic fields to find their way thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean.
Hawaiian cleaner wrasses are the barbers of the sea. They tidy up other fish, removing parasites, mucus, and old skin from their fins and gills. A cleaner wrasse will even climb into an eel’s mouth for a bit of free dentistry!
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the world’s rarest marine mammals. Endemic to the Hawaiian archipelago, less than 1,500 of these sweet-faced seals exist. The Hawaiian name ‘ilioholoikauaua means the “dog that runs in rough seas.”
Explore Hawai‘i’s Marine Life!
Click on an animal to learn more or filter your search using the categories below
There are 76 recorded species of cephalopod in Hawaiʻi. Of them, the day octopus (Octopus cyanea), or heʻe mauli, is the most commonly observed. Day octopuses are usual...Read more
Seahorses are true bony fishes with curved trunks, heads resembling a horse's head, and tails capable of grasping and holding on to strands of seaweed or algae. The smoot...Read more
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Hawaiian green sea turtles, or honu, are native to Hawaiʻi. They are the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world, reaching lengths of four feet and weighing over 30...Read more
Hawaiian Monk Seal
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, less than 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals remain. Their Hawaiian name ...Read more
Blacktip Reef Shark
Of the 40 species of sharks found in Hawai‘i, the blacktip reef shark is among the most common due to the areas it inhabits. The blacktip reef shark prefers shallow ins...Read more
Maui Ocean Center respectfully complies with the County of Maui ordinance prohibiting the exhibit of cetaceans (marine mammals including whales, dolphins, and monk seals)...Read more
The Hawaiian squirrelfish, or ‘ala‘ihi in Hawaiian, are easily identified by their unique, vibrant red coloration, large eyes, and silvery-white stripes. The Hawaiian...Read more
The Hawaiian turkeyfish (also known as Hawaiian lionfish) is a member of the scorpionfish family and can grow up to 8 inches long. There are roughly 25 species of scorpio...Read more
Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby
The Hawaiian whitespotted toby is one of the most common reef fish observed at all depths. They are yellowish to dark brown in coloration and display numerous white to li...Read more
Potter’s angelfish have a unique pattern, with a deep orange on its front and dorsal region, which shades to a grayish-blueish side. Its posterior has vertical lines of...Read more
An elongated slender body characterizes this large and diverse family of fish, the wrasses. Very commonly seen in coral reef environments, these colorful, vibrant fish ar...Read more
Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse
The Hawaiian cleaner wrasse is common on the reef at any depth, particularly at coral heads and ledges. Juveniles are black with a striking blue line along the back, and ...Read more