Humuhumunukunukuapua’a: The Story Behind of Hawaii State Fish
Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapua a. The state fish of Hawaii has a name that is brief, distinctive, and easy to say. It is hardly surprise that Hawaii’s island chain, which is rich in seashore culture and traditions, has a designated state fish. Explore the humuhumu’s backstory in more detail.
What is the Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapua a?
Humuhumunukunukupuaa (Reef Triggerfish) may seem to be a difficult term, but it is really fairly easy. Regardless, locals sometimes reduce it to humuhumu to save breath. The state fish’s appellation, like many Hawaiian names, is steeped in significance and history. The first component, “humuhumu,” is the Hawaiian term for all triggerfish species. The second part of the name, “nukunukupuaa,” translates to “snout of a pig.” There is a resemblance between the peculiar grunting noises made by live fish when they are threatened and the familiar sounds made by pigs, despite the fact that this may seem to be an odd comparison.
In 2006, the humuhumu was named as Hawaii’s official state fish. The rectangular triggerfish, Lagoon triggerfish, Picasso triggerfish, or Hawaiian triggerfish are additional names for these fish. With their assortment of colors, vivid blue lips, and yellow stripes, they are enjoyable to discover on our Maui reefs. When snorkeling in Maui, be sure to have your camera ready because humumu’s are smaller triggerfish and move very quickly.
The humuhumu’s relatively chubby mouth contains a row of blue teeth that are closely spaced. Their shape enables them to wedge themselves into tight spaces and lock their spine, making it very challenging to escape. They also have the ability to grunt, perhaps as a call to warn other triggerfish in the area of impending danger. If you’re snorkeling in Hawaii and have the good fortune to see one of these gorgeous creatures, observe them, but always respect their space.
The fish’s ability to shoot water jets out of its mouth is one of its more intriguing behaviors. The fish use these jets to locate some of their food source, which may be buried beneath the sand. The humuhumu are frequently observed spitting sand out of their mouths to sift through the debris in search of food. Reef triggers are fairly aggressive and typically won’t tolerate other species in their general area, which accounts for the fish’s frequent solitary appearance. It’s amazing how quickly triggers can change their color. The coloration is frequently the most vibrant when the fish is healthy and not in danger from its surroundings, but they can become relatively dull-looking when they are sleeping or acting submissive.
Keep practicing; once you get it, it’s fun to say. Humuhumunukunukuapua’a… Humuhumunukunukuapua’a…
Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapua a and Hawaiian Mythology
Reef Triggerfish, like many other things in Hawaiian history, plays an important role in local mythology. The fish is associated with the hog god, Kama Puaa.
Kama Pua’a was a merciless leader from Oahu Island who could take the form of both a man and a wild hog, according to legend. He possessed superhuman abilities to command the rain and waters to obey him.
He was on the Big Island one day when he fell in love with Pele, the goddess of fire and lava. Pele was aware of his cruel nature and rejected him with a torrent of boiling lava and sulfur smoke. Kama Puaa was prepared for her attack, and he easily brushed the clouds away, standing before her without a single wound. His strength did not frighten her; rather, it impressed her.
They married soon after, but they quickly realized that they were never meant to be together. Pele was quickly enraged by Kama Pua’a and his brutality because he had too many hoglike habits.
Pele used her best weapons and threw steam and lava at Kama Pua’a to get rid of him, but his power was enough to fight her every move. Pele was forced to seek assistance from the gods of the underworld. Kama Pua’a was forced to flee into the sea.
When he touched the water, he transformed into a Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, a fish with thick skin that could withstand boiling waves and swim deep into the sea. Now that we know the story, it’s no surprise that the Humuhumu’s noise sounds like a small hog grunting!
Becoming the State Fish of Hawaii
As a result, when it came to choosing a state fish, some thought the “Picasso triggerfish” was a natural choice. According to Fox News, part of its appeal, in addition to its historical significance, is its “cuteness and unpalatability.” The humu is not a Hawaii fish to eat and will not be found on a menu (which, as the editor of Hawaii Fishing News points out, is a good thing because popular game fish like ulua could pose a problem as the state fish “if environmentalists push to protect the fish from fishermen,” negatively impacting the economy); it has never been considered appetizing. (Former Governor Linda Lingle noted that the humu was once used to fuel Hawaiian fires—”not their stomachs.”) Others argued that it was an inappropriate choice for representing the Hawaiian islands because it is not native to Hawaii. However, its rectangular shape, dorsal fin, dazzling colors, geometric patterns, and intriguing qualities made it a survey favorite.
By default, the fish was designated as a state symbol, joining the ranks of the hibiscus (or pua aloalo), Hawaii’s state flower, and black coral, its gem. As fresh-water enthusiasts convinced the state legislature to limit its term, humuhumunukunukuapuaa was given a five-year trial period (and, it should be noted, Hawaiian schoolchildren and members of the Waikiki Aquarium rallied for its designation). In 2006, the fish was reinstated as the state’s official swimmer, a title it now holds in perpetuity, sixteen years after it formally lost its royal status, though few seemed to notice.
And hana hou for that: humuhumunukunukuapuaa has become a beloved Hawaiian symbol. Photographs of it can be found in classrooms across the state. Musicians incorporate it into their lyrics (listen to Don Ho’s My Little Grass Shack), and snorkeling companies extol its virtues. Even the British got a taste of this captivating beauty when one worked at the Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium in East Sussex (which experts described to The Daily Mail as having “a lot of personality…he rushes around the tank, eating and filtering sand and always looking like he’s on a mission to get somewhere”). For islanders, the fish embodies the spirit of Hawaii—independent, stunning, and one-of-a-kind.
Hawaii State Fish “Humuhumunukunukuapua a” Identification
A humuhumu will spend its days gliding down the ocean bottom eating algae and sucking up concealed crustaceans from the sand. At night, it returns to its reef crevice and deploys three spines to firmly anchor itself. The fish may then sleep soundly, secure in the knowledge that no predator can approach it. This characteristic gives the humuhumu its alternative popular name, the Wedge-tailed Triggerfish.
Hawaii is home to some of the world’s top snorkeling destinations, thanks to its colorful reef fish, year-round mild water temps, and amazing coral structures. Humuhumus enjoy shallow outer reef habitats, which is ideal for inexperienced snorkelers. Because of its particular color and pattern, the humuhumu is immediately identifiable.
Hanauma Bay on the south coast of Oahu is one of the greatest sites to see a humuhumu in its native environment. The tranquil bay is a protected natural area and Marine Life Conservation District. In addition to the humuhumu, it is possible to swim with dozens of other kinds of fish, such as the kikkapu (Threadfin Butterflyfish), manini (Convict Tang), and kihikihi (Moorish Idol).
Hana hou for that as well because Humuhumunukunukuapua’a has grown to be a beloved symbol of Hawaii. Photographs of it are displayed in classrooms all over the state. Musicians incorporate it into their lyrics (check out Don Ho’s My Little Grass Shack), and snorkel manufacturers extol its beauty. Even the British got to see a glimpse of this alluring beauty when one of them worked for a while at the Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium in East Sussex. According to experts who spoke to The Daily Mail, the fish “has a lot of personality…he rushes around the tank, eating and filtering sand always looking like he’s on a mission to get somewhere.” For islanders themselves, the fish embodies everything that is distinct, beautiful, and independent about Hawaii.
5 Amazing Facts About the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a
1 The Reef, Rectangular, Wedge-tail Triggerfish, also known as Humuhumunukunukuapua’a in Hawaiian.
That’s quite a mouthful! It’s said to be one of the Hawaiian language’s longest words. Hawaiians joke that the fish’s name is longer than the fish itself! People generally shorten the fish’s name to Humuhumu, which is more manageable. The name translates as “triggerfish with a pig’s snout.”
2 It was designated as Hawaii’s official fish in 1985.
It was the official fish for five years, until the Hawaiian state law expired in 1990. Someone must have been concerned about this, because on April 17, 2006, a bill was presented to the governor of Hawaii requesting that the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a be designated as Hawaii’s permanent state fish. This bill was passed on May 2, 2006!
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3 This Fish Has the Ability to Change Colors!
The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is well-known for its brilliant coloration. However, many people are unaware that triggerfish can change colors! They can, in fact, change colors quite quickly. Their coloration is frequently determined by what they are doing at the time. When a fish is sleeping or wishes to appear submissive, its colors will be muted and dull. However, when the fish is healthy, comfortable, and safe, its coloration is vibrant.
4 There are two spines on the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.
The second spine of the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is smaller than the first. You might be wondering why this fish needs two spines when swimming through water appears to be so easy. Actually, the fish’s two spines are used to protect themselves rather than to help them move faster. The secondary spine can be used to keep the main spine upright. If the fish feels threatened, it can lodge itself in a small area and lock its spine in place. Predators will find it extremely difficult to get to!
5 The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a Has a Variety of Distinctive Characteristics and Habits
Humuhumunukunukuapua’a teeth and top lip are blue, in addition to its brightly colored scales! It has a chubby mouth and teeth that are very close together. Triggerfish make grunting noises when fleeing predators. According to one theory, this is done to warn other nearby triggerfish of the danger. When looking for food, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is frequently seen spitting sand and blowing jets of water out of its mouth. Because the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is an aggressive fish, it is often found alone, especially in captivity.
The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is an incredible fish that must be seen to be believed. Only Hawaii, with its incredible landscapes and seascapes, could support such amazing life.
Topic: Humuhumunukunukuapua’a: The Story Behind of Hawaii State Fish
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