These large, wedge-shaped fish are likely not among the favorites in a fish beauty contest. They are, however, surprisingly maneuverable. They’re also somewhat shy and when they see they’ve been spotted, have a tendency to slide into holes or under ledges with the minimum of effort.
Like pufferfish, they can inflate themselves into a ball when threatened. Unlike pufferfish, they’re covered in sharp spines which stick out when inflated. They’re also poisonous so, while I enjoy seeing them, I have no intention of ever bothering one.
In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.