Biodiversity in the States: Hawaii Part Three- Marine Life of the Hawaiian Islands

Written by:  Niki Fears • Edited by: Niki Fears
Updated Feb 28, 2009
• Related Guides: Sea Life | Biodiversity

Learn about some of the amazing marine life that call the waters of Hawaii home, including several species that can be found no where else on earth.

As we have seen, Hawaii is an ideal location for exception biodiversity among marine mammals including Spinner Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and the endangered native marine mammal of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Monk Seal. But the waters of Hawaii also hold an abundance of biodiversity among other sea life which draw divers, photographers, and researchers to the area year after year.

Fish, Coral, and Other Marine Life:

Because of the uniqueness of the Hawaiian Islands, which were formed by volcanic activity, and their rather isolated and remote location, there are several species of fish that are native to these blue shores, in fact 30 % of the almost 600 species of fish found around the Hawaiian Islands can not be found anywhere else on earth, making it one of the most unique and essential pieces to the biodiversity puzzle of the world's oceans. Some of these beautiful gems of the sea include the Hawaiian Big Eye,Bluestripe Butterfly Fish, the yellow tang, the barracuda and the Whitemouth Moray Eel.

Sharks too are among the large variety of fish found in this part of the world including a number of species such as the familiar Gray Reef Shark, the White-Tipped Reef Shark, Tiger Sharks, and Sandbar Sharks among others. You can also find some of the more intriguing and unique sharks in this area including the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, and the slow moving, graceful whale shark

Coral species also populated the waters off of the coast of Hawaii and include several beautiful and brightly colored species. Among the coral that you will find include Orange Cup Coral, Mushroom Coral, Blue Octocoral, Large Coral, and False Brain Coral just to name a few.

The waters of Hawaii also hold a few dangerous, but none the less spectacular creatures including Fire Worms, Sea Urchins, the Crown of Thorns, Devil Scorpion Fish, and the giant Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish. Encounters with some of these creatures can be quite painful, but is generally treatable with proper first aid and is general not serious unless an allergic reaction occurs.

For all the wonder and beauty that Hawaii holds, it is still a fragile ecosystem with many of the beautiful species there, both on land and in the sea, being endangered and threatened with extinction by human activities including pollution, fishing, careless boating, and other human dangers. With so much of the world's biodiversity located only in this tropical paradise, it is vital that a great understand and preservation of the area occurs in order to insure that this abundance of life continues for a healthy Hawaii and a healthy world.

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