REEF at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS

REEF Stats

Top 10 Most Frequently Sighted Fish
  1. Saddle Wrasse
  2. Orangespine Unicornfish
  3. Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby
  4. Manybar Goatfish
  5. Orangeband Sugreonfish
  6. Raccoon Butterflyfish
  7. Goldring Surgeonfish
  8. Ornate Butterflyfish
  9. Bird Wrasse
  10. Pinktail Durgon

About the Sanctuary

The HIHWNMS was designated to protect the approximately 5,000 humpback whales that migrate through Hawaiian waters each year to breed, calve and nurse their young. The sanctuary protects 1,400 square miles of water along five of the islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Besides whales, Hawaii boasts beautiful coral reefs and underwater lava formations that are home to over 500 reef fish species. Almost 1/3 of these fish are endemic to Hawaii. HIHWNMS Website

Current REEF Projects

REEF is currently working with local partners, Project S.E.A.-Link, the Maui Community College's Marine Option Program, and the Coral Reef Network, to train local divers and set up regular survey projects. REEF expanded to Hawaii in February 2001.

Fish Features

The six species featured represent some of the most common fishes found in the MBNMS and also some of the most interesting. Goldring Surgeonfish (kole): An herbivore and very important to the health of a coral reef, the goldring is very abundant on most Hawaiian reefs. Arc-eye Hawkfish (pili-ko'a): Hawkfish are "ambush" predators, perching on top of a rock or coral and waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim too close. All hawkfish have fringes on the tips of their first few dorsal spines. The arc-eye is distinguished by the arc shaped marking below their eye. Manybar Goatfish (moano): Goatfish have a pair of barbels that they use to sift through sand for food. Goatfish are found on all coral reefs, and the manybar is the species most commonly sighted in Hawaii.
Saddle Wrasse (hinalea lauwili): This is probably the most numerous fish on Hawaiian reefs. Like the parrotfish, they live in harems. Wrasse generally eat small crustaceans. This fish is one of the many fishes that are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse: This wrasse acts as a cleaner for other fish and turtles. It uses its bright colors to advertise its services. It is endemic to Hawaii. Ornate Butterflyfish (kikakapu): A beautiful fish that is frequently sighted, they feed almost exclusively on coral polyps. Like many angelfish, this fish is thought to form mating pairs.
Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub