Honokeana Cove Slithering Fish


Just as I was entering the water at Honokeana Cove to snorkel with the turtles, about a week ago, when I looked down and saw this fish.  At first I thought it was an octopus by the way it seemed to be slithering over the rocks away from where I was standing in about 3 ft. of water.  I lifted my head to tell my wife there was an octopus in the water.  When I put my head back in the water, I realized it was not an octopus but some kind of strange barbed fish.  I have checked some books on reef fish and it may be some kind of Lionfish, but I'm not really sure.  It appeared to be about 16 inches.  I am hoping someone can give me a positive ID on it.




I don't have a book on Hawaiian fishes to be more specific, but it is some kind of Fying Gunard.  You can see some examples from around the globe at http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=4485&AT=flying+gurnard

I know, I know, pick me!!!

Well, I had to look it up, and thanks to Carol I was able to narrow it down right away. It's a Helmet Gurnard, with the Hawaiian name of Ioloa'u. Scientific name of Dactyloptena orientalis. GREAT FIND!!


Janna Nichols

REEF Outreach Coordinator


Helmet/Flying Gunnard

Thanks!!!  I overlooked it in my Hawaiian Reef Fish book -- just one page about it.  After you two responded I went back to the book and sure enough, there it was.  I have been diving and snorkeling numerous times on the various Hawaiian Islands and never spotted any of these.  By the way, my book lists its Hawaiian name as Pinao, which also means dragonfly.

Thanks again!!!

Dan Whetstone

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