Tag Archives: Triggerfish

Lei triggerfish

Lei triggerfish are quite common in Big Island waters.Lei triggerfish are quite common in Big Island waters.

Lei triggerfish are quite common in Big Island waters. Sometimes two or three of them can be seen circling, then chasing each other. The two bands behind the eyes can change color from brown to gray or yellow. I like their blue eye shadow and their permanent look of surprise, as if they’re always saying ‘Oooo.’

Black triggerfish

A group of black triggerfish gather in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii
I came across this blob of black triggerfish just floating and weaving idly back and forth. Only the one had the coloration that is a sign of arousal and agitation, though it was drifting about much like the others. I suspect this was some sort of courtship/mating ritual going on, but it was quite ethereal to watch.

Humuhumu-nukunuku-ā-pua-a

The Humuhumu-nukunuku-ā-pua-a is the state fish of Hawaii
This is the Hawaiian name for the wedgetail triggerfish or picasso triggerfish. It’s also the state fish of Hawaii.

Back in 1984, the legislature decided an official state fish was needed and public input was sought. Eight species made the shortlist to be voted on by the people. Not surprisingly, those of a serious bent thought one of Hawaii’s endemic species should get the nod and lobbied accordingly. But kids liked the humuhumu-nukunuku-ā-pua-a, which gets a line in the song ‘My little grass shack,’ and children’s hula groups, dancing to this song, won people over. It netted nearly twice as many votes as the runner up.

An attempt to ‘Boaty McBoatface’ the result failed and the humuhumu-nukunuku-ā-pua-a was ultimately confirmed as state fish.

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.

Whitemouth moray eel on the move

A whitemouth moray eel with a lei triggerfish, yellow tang, moorish idol and whitespotted surgeonfish.A Whitemouth Moray Eel between two coral heads.
This whitemouth moray eel appeared to startle these fish, a lei triggerfish, yellow tang, moorish idol and whitespotted surgeonfish. However, it kept going, sliding into and out of cracks as eels do, until it settled between a couple of coral heads.

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.

A splash of color

A cigarfish and pinktail triggerfish add color to a shoal of surgeonfish.
This predominately brown shoal of whitebar surgeonfish and whitespotted surgeonfish is enlivened by the yellow and orange of a male cigarfish and a flash of pink from the aptly named pinktail triggerfish.

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.

Reef fish

Many fish make the reef homeA great variety of fish make their home among the rocks and coral on the coast. From the bottom these are: two indo-pacific sergeants, a scrawled filefish, two or three whitebar surgeonfish, and in the background, a number of black triggerfish.

One of the pleasures of snorkeling here is that there’s always something to see and every day is different.

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.

Moody black triggerfish

Black Triggerfish

The black triggerfish is a common reef fish, not shy about showing how it feels. The top photo shows its usual color, a dark body with bright, pale blue lines along the base of its dorsal and anal fins.

When it gets wound up like the one on the left, bright blue lines appear between the eyes. The more agitated it becomes, the more the blue expands. The one below is clearly not at all happy. I know when I’m not wanted.

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.