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Humuhumunukunukuāpua'a: 5 Facts About Hawaii's Official State Fish

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 06:03 PM

Fishing in Hawaii is a time-honored tradition, starting with ancient Hawaiians who received physical and spiritual nourishment from the sea. The Hawaiians valued harmony in the environment, and respected the land and sea’s natural resources. Fish (including shellfish) were the main source of protein, and fishing communities traded with upland farmers so that all could have a balanced diet.

Fishermen developed skills that enabled them to provide for their communities. They studied the shores and reefs to know where fish could be found. They learned how to dive, and they learned various ways to capture fish using spears, traps, and nets. Ancient Hawaiian chants and tales give homage to the fisherman, acknowledging the importance of this art.

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Hawaii is a land of traditions, and legislators have named several “officials” over the years. Hula is the state dance, Pua Aloalo (hibiscus) is the state flower, and black coral is the state gem. The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Rhinecanthus rectangulus) has been the official state fish of Hawaii since 1985. Here are five facts about it:

1. This fish won its status somewhat by default. The original designation was declared on a trial basis, and the official state was granted for five years. When the period lapsed in 1990, no one seemed to notice, and no other fish was proposed as an alternative, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a was officially reinstated.

2. The Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (little triggerfish with a snout like a pig) is also known as the Hawaiian triggerfish or the rectangular triggerfish.

3. This fish is native to the saltwater coasts of the central and south Pacific Ocean islands. The triggerfish live in reefs (many of them are protected from removing fish) and like to hide in small crevices of coral and rocks. They can lock their spines to protect themselves from predators, making it very difficult to pull the fish out of their hiding spots.

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4. This fish is bright and beautiful, with a diamond-shaped body that has shades of yellow, black, and blue. It can fade its colors when threatened or sleeping. The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a sleeps on its side.

5. The fish has the unusual ability to blow water from its mouth, and although alluring, divers should keep distance from these beauties. They are aggressive and territorial.

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In Hawaii, Hula is the state dance, Pua Aloalo (hibiscus) is the state flower, and black coral is the state gem. The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Rhinecanthus rectangulus) has been the official state fish of Hawaii since 1985. Here are five facts about it.
hawaii, state, fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa
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2016-03-21
Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 06:03 PM
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