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Fun Facts About the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa

We wanted to share a little bit of what makes the Hawaiian triggerfish so unique!
October 08, 2017

We are sure that you have heard of Hawaii’s state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, and have been challenged to sound out this seemingly complicated set of letters. Lucky for you, we won’t make you do that and will often refer to this fish as “humuhumu” like the locals do. Instead, we wanted to share a little bit of what makes the Hawaiian triggerfish so unique!

Growing up to 10 inches long, the humuhumu definitely has a name that is longer than its body! Tiny but mighty, this fish has a tough body structure and rough scales, enabling it to wiggle into small, rocky crevasses to hide from predators. The “trigger”, which is the second spine of the humuhumu, also allows it to lock onto the jagged edges of the reef while it rests.

It is a little known fact but the Hawaiian triggerfish is not on the endangered species list, unlike the Hawaiian monk seal and the nene goose. It is also not a common fish you will find on a dining table, even in the days of Old Hawaii. Early Hawaiians would actually use dried humu as fuel for cooking fires to create more desirable fish dishes.

Roughly translated, the name humuhumunukunukuapuaa means “fish with a snout like a pig” and is believed to stem from the warning grunts a distressed humu makes as well as its pig-like eating habits. Out in the open, away from the safety of the coral, the humuhumu finds its meals by scooping sand off the shallow ocean floor and sifting the inedible pieces out through their mouths in jet streams. While their special fins allow them to burst away once threatened the humuhumu has as a camouflage mechanism of sorts as an added security measure. Capable of changing the pigment of their scales, the colorful humuhumu is able to blend with its surroundings and feast in peace.

This Hawaiian fish is known to be pretty territorial despite its size and has the tendency to nip intruders with their one-of-a-kind blue teeth, so we recommend admiring from afar for those joining us on our Lanai snorkel boat trips! Among the famous humuhumunukunukuapuaa, you will most likely to come across some honu (turtles) that frequent the waters off Maui as well as an array of other colorful fishes!

If you have any questions about the marine life you’ll encounter on our Maui sunset cruises or Hawaii snorkeling tours, you will find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Hope to see you on board – so HOP to it, book today!

Blogs for October 2017

Best Malasadas on Maui - HOP To It

Posted on October 17, 2017

There are so many good malasadas on Maui, it's hard to narrow the list down to just five, but after weeks of agonizing research, we think we've come up with the definitive list. But first, the ground rules. We're sticking with bakeries and shops that serve malasadas "to… Continue Reading

Best Farmers Markets on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 16, 2017


The state of Hawai'i imports roughly 85% - 90% (by most estimates) of its food. This leaves Maui in a somewhat precarious situation. First, if for some reason we were cut off from the mainland, it wouldn't take long for there to be massive food shortages. Second,… Continue Reading

Safe Snorkeling in Maui

Posted on October 14, 2017


Known for the warm, clear waters and colorful marine life, it would be a shame if you missed the unique opportunity of snorkeling in Maui. Enjoyable for all ages, snorkeling offers the chance to glimpse at a whole other world built just under the water’s surface! Whether… Continue Reading

Classic Hawaiian Cookbooks - HOP to it

Posted on October 12, 2017


Sam Choy, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, five of the original 12 members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, all have signature cookbooks. Like their restaurants, the books still hold up today. For many people, it isn't a trip to Hawai'i without visiting… Continue Reading

Best Food Trucks on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 11, 2017


Food trucks keep sprouting up on Maui and we couldn't be happier. The quality of food at the trucks listed below rival anything you'll eat at high end restaurants. While you'll find classic Hawai'ian dishes like poke, you can also find ethnic foods that are generally underserved… Continue Reading

Fun Facts About the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa

Posted on October 08, 2017

We are sure that you have heard of Hawaii’s state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, and have been challenged to sound out this seemingly complicated set of letters. Lucky for you, we won’t make you do that and will often refer to this fish as “humuhumu” like the locals do.… Continue Reading

The Harmful Effects of Sunscreen on our Oceans

Posted on October 07, 2017


Sunscreens have been making headlines lately due to their contribution to coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Coral bleaching is the phenomenon whereby coral loses its color and rejects symbiotic organisms, essentially killing the coral. While rising sea temperatures are the main culprit behind coral bleaching, researchers believe… Continue Reading

Best Asian Noodle Joints on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 06, 2017

Noodle dishes and bowls come in all shapes and sizes. While Oahu may have some of the best ramen restaurants in the world, Maui definitely doesn't. But ramen isn't the only noodle dish in town. Maui does have excellent saimin, a local noodle soup, a bit like ramen,… Continue Reading

Best Tide Pools on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 05, 2017


Maui is blessed with miles and miles of sandy beaches. Not all beaches, though, have tide pools. In fact, most don't have them. But when you come across a great tide pool, you can use it as an ecological teaching moment for children or just enjoy the… Continue Reading

Best Golf Courses on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 04, 2017

Maui is home to many fine golf courses, far more than the five listed here. With the exception of one, all of the courses here are public. The one club that is private offers one-day guest memberships for visitors. From courses that double as PGA stops to municipal courses with… Continue Reading

Best Tropical Gardens on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 03, 2017


While it seems odd to spend money to see plants and flowers on Maui when they are so prevalent for free, sometimes it's helpful to see all the different types of flora in one location. For you Instagrammers, tropical gardens present excellent flower photo and selfie opportunities.… Continue Reading

Best Coffee Shop on Maui - HOP to it

Posted on October 02, 2017


A good coffee shop is somewhere you want to nest, a place where you can do anything from check your email to chat with friends. For this list, we aren't talking about the best coffee. Instead, we are talking about are the best places to enjoy coffee.… Continue Reading

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Our Latest Blogs

Best Malasadas on Maui - HOP To It
  (Posted: October 17, 2017)

Best Farmers Markets on Maui - HOP to it
  (Posted: October 16, 2017)

Safe Snorkeling in Maui
  (Posted: October 14, 2017)

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