Hawaiian Marine | WWF

Hawaiian Marine

About the Area

The Hawaiian reefs provide an excellent example of reef evolution, here the fringing and barrier reefs are geologically young and continue to form as the volcanic islands mature.

Situated in relative isolation in the subtropical fringe of the North Pacific, this geographic (and hydrographic) isolation enables the Islands of Hawaii to support one of the highest percentages of endemic marine fishes in the world (23% of 566 species).

Local Species
Many species of coral exist in Hawaiian reefs, including several species of the endemic cauliflower coral (Pocillopora spp). Endemic fishes include Fantail filefish (Pervagor spilosoma), several species of angelfishes (Genicanthus personatus, Centropyge spp), Hawaiian anthias (Pseudanthias thompsoni), Yellow margin basslet (Liopropoma aurora), Hawaiian grouper (Epinephelus quernus), and five species of butterflyfishes (Chaetodon spp).

Other endemic species include Hawaiian spiny lobster (Panulirus marginatus), Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi), and regal slipper lobster (Arctides regalis). Approximately 1,000 species of mollusks occur in Hawaiian waters, 20 per cent of which are endemic.

These waters also host Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), with Loggerheads turtles (Caretta caretta), Olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), and Kemp's ridley turtles (L. kempii) as infrequent visitors.

More than half of the 2,000 remaining north pacific Humpback whales (Megaptera novaenglie) winter in Hawaii, their only breeding ground in the United States. Also found on the main breeding grounds is the Laysan (Diomedea immutabilis), and the black-footed albatross (D. nigripes).

Overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and introduced species are all major threats.



Habitat type:
Tropical Coral

Geographic Location:
North Pacific

Conservation Status:

Did You Know!

Hawaii's unique cauliflower corals grow well in both shallow and deep water and can survive strong tides and ocean surges. Early island inhabitants used them as sandpaper and to build temples.

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