About the Area
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).
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).
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.