HAWAI‘I’S Marine Life

Explore Beneath the Surface
Interesting Fact
Whales sing a new song every year!
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!
Interesting Fact
Turtle
Master Navigators
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.
Interesting Fact
Underwater Barbershop
Underwater Barbershop
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!
Interesting Fact
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Sea Dogs
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!
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Cephalopods
Day Octopus
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...
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Day Octopus
Fishes
Smooth Seahorse
Seahorses are true bony fishes with curved trunks, heads resembling the head of a horse, and tails capable of grasping and holding on to strands of seaweed or algae. The ...
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Smooth Seahorse
Reptiles
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Hawaiian green sea turtles, or honu, are native to Hawaii. They are the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world, reaching lengths of four feet and weights over 300 p...
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Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Mammals
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. The Hawaiian name ...
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Hawaiian Monk Seal
Fishes
Blacktip Reef Shark
Of the 40 species of sharks found in Hawai‘i, the blacktip reef shark is amongst the most common due to the areas it inhabits. The blacktip reef shark prefers shallow, ...
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Blacktip
Mammals
Humpback Whale
Maui Ocean Center is respectfully in compliance with a County of Maui ordinance prohibiting the exhibit of cetaceans (marine mammals including whales, dolphins, and monk ...
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Whales sing a new song every year!
Fishes
Hawaiian Squirrelfish
The Hawaiian squirrelfish, or ‘ala‘ihi in Hawaiian, are easily identified by its unique vibrant red coloration, large eyes, and silvery white stripes. Reaching approx...
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Fishes
Hawaiian Turkeyfish
The Hawaiian turkeyfish (also known as Hawaiian lionfish) is a member of the Scorpionfish family. There are roughly 25 species of Scorpionfish that inhabit Hawaiian water...
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Hawaiian Turkeyfish
Fishes
Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby
The Hawaiian whitespotted toby is amongst one of the most common reef fish observed at all depths. It is yellowish to dark brown in coloration and displays numerous white...
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Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby
Fishes
Potter’s Angelfish
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 ...
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Potter’s Angelfish
Fishes
Wrasse Family
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 are...
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Shallow reef
Fishes
Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse
The Hawaiian cleaner wrasse is common on the reef at any depth, particularly at coral heads and ledges. Adults are brightly colored with yellow at the head which fades in...
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Underwater Barbershop