Monday, April 13, 2015

Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, also spelled Humuhumunukunukuapua'a or just humuhumu for short; meaning "triggerfish with a snout like a pig...

That was from Wikipedia.

The Waikiki Aquarium has one, a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, but we didn't see it on the first pass through.  The aquarium is relatively small, and it didn't take long to peruse the inside exhibits, which are very well done, and then go outside, where there are a few more exhibits, and then go back inside, passing through the gift shop. A woman working there asked, "Did you see the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a?"

I was pretty sure we had not.  I had heard of this fish, because people like saying its name, but I had no mental image of it and had seen no sign inside or outside explaining where to look for one.

She plucked a metal key tag from a rack.  "It looks like this."

Oh.  It was a kind of triggerfish.

"There's one in the outside tank."  She described in detail how it endlessly swims a particular route through the tank, and where to stand to get a picture of it.  

Well why not?  We went back to the outside tank and stood where instructed to, and voila.


It has an odd legal history:

From Wikipedia:  "The reef triggerfish was originally designated the official fish of Hawaii in 1985,[3] but due to an expiration of a Hawaiian state law after five years, it ceased to be the state fish in 1990.[4] On April 17, 2006, bill HB1982 was presented to the Governor of Hawaiʻi, which permanently reinstated the reef triggerfish (humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa) as the state fish of Hawaiʻi.[5] The bill passed into law on May 2, 2006, and was effective upon its approval.[6][7]

Close-up of Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.  Beauty.
One should naturally be glad it was permanently reinstated as the state fish.

This is my favourite shot because the lighting helps show the thoughtful expression typical of triggerfish.

Thank you to the kind woman in the gift shop who told us how to see this fish.

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