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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Invertebrates
Sea Cucumber
Sea cucumbers (loli) are a common sight on Hawaiʻi’s reefs. This unique and strange animal has a distinct tubular shape which some say resembles sausages. Sea cucumber...
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Sea Cucumber
Invertebrates
Sea Stars
Sea stars are one of the most recognizable marine species and typically have a five-part body consisting of a central disk and radial symmetry. Size, shape, color, and te...
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Sea Stars
Mammals
Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are one of the most common types of tide pool animals. Characterized by their soft abdomen or tail, hermit crabs rely on empty snail shells as a means of pro...
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Hermit Crabs
Invertebrates
Cone Snail
The cone snail is one of the largest marine snail families represented in the Hawaiian Islands. Displaying beautiful patterns and colors, they are quite popular with coll...
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Cone Snail
Fishes
Whitetip Reef Shark
The whitetip reef shark is found throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans and is associated with the coral reef environment. In the Hawaiian Islands, they can be observed...
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Whitetip Reef Shark
Invertebrates
Broad Stingray
The broad stingray is found only in Hawaiʻi and Taiwan. Most researchers agree their populations are plentiful. They are one of four species known to inhabit Hawaiian wa...
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Broad Stingray
Fishes
Angel Fish
Angelfishes are a family of fish with roughly 80 species, with five present in the Hawaiian Islands. Their vibrant colors make them a favorite among divers and snorkelers...
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Angel Fish
Fishes
Bandit Angelfish
Bandit angelfish are endemic to Hawaiʻi and are most commonly found around Kauaʻi and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. These curious angelfishes often show interest t...
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Bandit Angelfish