Ocean Creatures

Marine life in the Hawaiian Islands

The green sea turtle, or honu, is a protected species, with some 2,000 nesting pairs in the Hawaiian Islands. 

The Hawaiian monk seal is native to Hawaiʻi and is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with a population of only 1,100 individuals.

Each winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawai’i, where there is a national marine sanctuary dedicated to their protection.

The most common octopus in Hawai'i is the day octopus, or he'e mauli, a highly intelligent creature with eight arms and three hearts.

The banded spiny lobster is Hawaii's only native lobster. Its Hawaiian name is ula or ula poni.

The dragon moray eel is one of the most aggressive eels in the ocean, growing as large as three feet with razor sharp teeth.

This yellow margin moray eel isn’t eating his dinner—he’s getting his teeth cleaned by a scarlet cleaner shrimp.

Of the 40 species of sharks found in Hawaiian waters, few can rival the beauty and form of the Galapagos shark, which can grow to 10 feet.

Spinner dolphins, or nai‘a, are nocturnal hunters who come into sandy, shallow areas during the day to rest.

Spotted eagle rays are among the most beautiful and graceful of all rays, with a maximum wing span of six feet from tip to tip and a long slender tail. 

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