QUESTION

What is the State Fish for Hawaii?

ANSWER

Humuhumunukunukuapuaa is the name of the State Fish of Hawaii. This is also called the reef triggerfish, rectangular triggerfish, or Hawiian triggerfish.

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The name Humuhumunukunukuapuaa means fish with a snout like a pig. The fish can also make pig-like grunting noises when it is alarmed. A common joke is that the name is longer than the fish, but that’s not quite true, even though this is a small fish (a few inches long). The name is often shortened to humu or humuhumu.

The word “trigger” in the name of the triggerfish refers to these fish’s small dorsal spine, which it can lock into an upright position. Locking its spine while sheltering inside a small crevice makes it difficult for a predator to pull the fish out.

You can easily see the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa when you snorkel around Maui. They are also on display at the Maui Ocean Center aquarium.

My grandchildren have learned to say the name of the state fish of Hawaii and you can too. Here’s how.

The letter U appears 9 times in the word. In every case, it is pronounced like the “oo” in zoo.The letter A appears 3 times in the word. In every case it is pronounced like the “a” in car.Now say “humu” (remember to pronounce each U to rhyme with moo)Now say “humu” twice humuhumuNow say “nuku”Now say “nuku” twice nukunukuNow say “a” (remember to pronounce it “ah” like in car)Now say “pu” (remember to pronounce the U to rhyme with moo)Last say two syllables “aa” as “ah-ah” (remember each of the two A’s sounds like the a in car)Now all you have to do is put it all together: humu-humu-nuku-nuku-a-pu-aa. Say it over and over again until it just rolls off your tongue!

The 35-second video below has a family teaching you how to pronounce Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

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You won’t find the state fish of Hawaii on any restaurant menus, but the Grand Wailea Resort has a restaurant that is named after the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

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