Humuhumunukunukuapua’a: The Official State Fish of Hawaii

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Official state fish of Hawaii

Did you know that the official state fish of Hawaii is the humuhumunukunukuapua’a? This unique fish is found in the waters around Hawaii and can be recognized by its long, snout-like nose. In this blog post, we will discuss how it became the official state fish of Hawaii and some fun facts about it. We will also provide tips for spotting the humuhumunukunukuapua’a in the wild!

How Do You Pronounce The Name of the Hawaii State Fish?

One of the first questions when looking at the name of Hawaii’s state fish is, “How do I pronounce this?”. The humuhumunukunukuapua’a is pronounced HOO-moo-HOO-moo-NOO-koo-NOO-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah. This can be a daunting name to say, but with a little practice you’ll get it down in no time!

Other names for the humuhumunukunukuapua’a include the “triggerfish” and the “Picasso triggerfish”.

While there are many different species of triggerfish around Hawaii, this particular one is unique and holds a special place in Hawaiian culture.

What Humuhumunukunukuapua’a Means?

The name of Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, actually means “triggerfish with a snout like a pig”. This is quite fitting, as the humuhumunukunukuapua’a does have a very pig-like snout!

Breaking down the different sections of the name we get “humuhumu” referring to the fish, “Nuku Nuku” referring to the nose of the fish, and “apua’a”  meaning pig-like.

Becoming The State Fish of Hawaii

How the humuhumunukunukuapua’a became the official state fish of Hawaii is an interesting story. It all started back in 1984 when the search for a candidate state fish began.  Placed on a public survey, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa made it’s real headway from the campaigning of school children giving it recognition in their classroom project.

Originally there was a bit of controversy in this choice particularly because the humuhumu is not exclusive to Hawaii’s waters. However, it was decided that the fish’s uniqueness and cultural significance outweighed its non-exclusive status.

The bill was debated for a while, but eventually, it passed and the humuhumunukunukuapua’a was named the official state fish of Hawaii!

The original bill had a 5 year trial period, but in 2006 it was made permanent.

Facts About Hawaii’s State Fish

Looking to learn more about Hawaii’s state fish? Here are some facts to help you better understand the humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

Temperament – The humuhumunukunukuapua’a is known for its feisty temperament. If you’re lucky enough to catch one, be prepared for a fight!

Size – This fish can grow up to 18 inches in length and weigh up to four pounds.

Location – The humuhumunukunukuapua’a is found in the waters around Hawaii and anywhere in the central or southern pacific ocean. You can find them in lagoons, tide pools, and coral reefs.

Diet – The humuhumu is carnivorous and feeds on small fish, crabs, shrimp, and other invertebrates.

Color – It can be found in a variety of colors, but is typically green or brown with some orange markings.

Spotting The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a

If you’re looking to spot the humuhumunukunukuapua’a while on vacation in Hawaii, snorkeling is the best way to see them up close. Coral reefs are a great place to start when looking to catch a glimpse of one.

If you aren’t sure where you should go snorkeling to spot one, check out our best snorkeling spots of Hawaii guides, and don’t forget to rent the best snorkeling gear for your adventures!