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Identify That Fish!

Updated on August 30, 2013

Snorkeling in Maui

I love to go snorkeling. When I went to Hawaii with my fiance, we spent a lot of time in the water looking at the beautiful array of fish. I found a underwater camera case for my point and shoot digital camera, which allowed us to take some fantastic photos of these salt water fish.

Now here comes the problem... I don't know what kinds of fish these are! I decided it would be fun to share my photos from snorkeling in Maui, and turn the identification of these fish into a game! Can you identify the fish in these photos? Sure I know some, but there are many others that I have no clue what they are. Come on and help me out, and you'll get featured in my fish gallery!

So far, all of the fish I've shared are from the beach right outside of my Grandparents' condo. If all of these fish get identified, I will be able to find some more from my trip to share!

HOW TO PLAY (THE "RULES")

-Look at the fish in each picture

-Identify the fish, and find an article about it (wikipedia or other)

-Comment on this lens with the Fish # and a link to the article telling us about the fish species

-If you can identify more than one fish, recommend another lensmaster for me to spotlight with that fish.

What do you win?

You will be featured in this lens! I will look thought your lenses and choose one to promote as I proclaim you to be the best of all fish identifiers!

My Photography Equiptment

Forget the disposable underwater cameras. Now you can safely use your own digital camera underwater to take fantastic photos! The case looks like a glorified zip lock bag, but I promise you that it works!

Just make sure to test that the case is still waterproof before each use. I put a tissue in the case and test it in a sink full of water, and it still works great!

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a in Maui
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a in Maui

Fish #1 - The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a

An Example of an "answer"

My Grandparents went to Hawaii every winter ever since I was a child. They would bring up back T-shirts proudly proclaiming this (now former) state fish of Hawaii.

The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, or trigger fish, has one of the longest names in the Hawaiian language which means "triggerfish with a snout like a pig." Snorkeling around Maui, I found a number of these fish. According to the wikipedia, these fish prefer to be solitary, but I certainly found them in some small clusters!

ChemKnits identified this fish on January 3, 2011. ChemKnits likes to write about knitting patterns, but has started writing lenses about her travel experiences. Check out her story about camping on the volcano Haleakala.

I love these fish so much that I designed a knitting pattern around them!

I love these fish so much that I designed a knitting pattern around them!
I love these fish so much that I designed a knitting pattern around them!

Do you think you can identify any fish?

See results

Fish #2

Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #3 - Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #4

Can you Identify this fish?

Have you been snorkeling in Hawaii?

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Fish #5

Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #6

Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #7 - Black Triggerfish

Idenfied by Flynn_the_Cat on Jan 10, 2011

The Black Triggerfish (Melichthys niger) appears completely black in water, only when it is looked at under light can you see the blueish color come out. We were lucky enough to have images of both of these states. I will admit that at first I thought these were two different fish species, but reading about the Black Triggerfish I realized that they are in fact the same fish, just taken with or without flash. These were one of my favorite fish to see when snorkeling, because the white stripes look electric when they reflect the light. In Hawaiian, the species is referred to as Humuhumu'ele'ele, and as I just learned the "Humuhumu" appears to be a part of the name of many of these related fish!


Photo taken with my point and shoot camera


Photo taken with an underwater camera +flash that we rented on a snorkeling excursion (before we were aware how awesome my camera worked underwater!)












Identified by Flynn_the_Cat on January 10, 2011. Flynn is a marine biologist, so is therefore the expert when you want to consider goldfish pregnancy. Flynn has also identified a lot of the fish on this page... so maybe you'll need to credit her when you identify yours if you find some handy hints down below!

Fish #8 - Whitespotted Boxfish or Toby?

Too close to tell!

I am a scientist, but I am no Marine biologist, so I tend to defer to the opinion of Flunn the Cat in matters of fishery.

The problem? I thought that I had identified this fish as a Whitespotted Toby (Canthigaster jactator), but in the contest results Flynn said that this is a Spotted Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris). If this fish is a spotted boxfish, then it is definitely a female as the males have different colored bellies.

Now both of these fish are found in Hawaiian waters, and they are both highly spotted... Take a look at the two links in the polls, and then weigh in your opinion!

Check out the links and put in your vote!

Here are two websites that have many pages of both options... what do you think? Help me figure this one out! I'd also love to hear why you think your answer is the right one.

What do you think #8 is?

See results

Fish #9 - Bluespine Unicornfish

Idenfied by Greekgeek on 1/10/2011

It's got a bump on it's head.... and it's an unicornfish (Naso unicornis)! It is a common food fish in Hawaii, and accordingly they have to regulate their capture for home aquariums. (These fish were certainly common at the reef where we were snorkeling... and they weren't that shy!) The Acanthuridae family contains over 80 species, but this Tang certainly has a unique silhouette! When you narrow the classification to the genus Naso, you will find that some of cousins relatives have much more pronounced horns. This bluespine doesn't look like he could hurt a fly (and since they are herbivores, they likely don't)! Thanks to The_Health_Lady, I now know that this fish is also called the Kala.

Greekgeek identified this fish on January 10, 2011. She makes some fabulous quizzes in her niche subject. This Greek Mythology fanatic is also knowledgeable about sea creatures, such as the Sea Hare.

Fish #10 - Pufferfish - Identified by ChemKnits: January 10, 2011

Apparently there are over 120 species of pufferfish, but one thing in common is that they all have four teeth. Their order, Tetradontidae, is named for this fact. Pufferfish are poisonous. They are referred to as pufferfish, blowfish and similar names because when threatened they will fill their elastic stomachs with water (or air if they are out of the water) making them appear like a more formidable opponent.

Keith chased this little puffer, hoping that he would do this, but alas, he stayed deflated.

ChemKnits identified this fish on January 10, 2011. No one has been trying to identify any of the fish, so she decided to do some more herself. ChemKnits became a Giant Squid this month, and kept a diary of her way there.

Fish #11

Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #12 - Trumpet Fish

Identified 1/10/11 by blujeanmomma

Trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensis) can be easily recognized by their unique elongated shape. What I didn't know is that these fish are able to change color, and at times will even appear to be completely yellow! Because this fish is so narrow, it attacks it's prey vertically, coming straight down from above. They can grow up to two feet in length.

Blujeanmomma identified this fish on January 10, 2011. As a resident of Kauai, Bluejeanmomma has a lot of experience with the fish of Hawaii! Who better than an expert to write a guide to Hawaiian Travel. I'd love to join you for a Margarita after a day of snorkeling!

Identify Salt Water Fish

Having trouble identifying these fish for me? Maybe some of these books will help! It would be interesting to see if any of these fish I've found in the wild people have as pets.

Fish #13

Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #14 - Moorish Idol

Identified by The_Health_Lady on January 10, 2011

The Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus resembles angelfish and butterflyfish, but it is actually the sole member of it's family, Zanclidae. The Moorish Idol is one of the most sought after aquarium fish, but is also apparently difficult to care for. But like butterflyfish, these oblique fish (Zanclus means oblique in Greek) mate for life, which I'm assuming is why you frequently see them in pairs. These fish are known in Hawaii as Kihikihi, which means curves and zigzags. I think that the phonetics of this name really fit its meaning, and describe this fish, perfectly.

Identified by The_Health_Lady on January 10, 2011. The_Health_Lady is lived in Kauai for 10 years, so she is familiar with the fish found in those waters. This health and fitness expert can also advise you on how to select slimming swimsuits for your snorkeling adventures.

Fish #15 - Can you Identify this fish?

Fish #16

Can you identify this fish?

Are you feeling lucky?

See results

Editing Underwater Photos

You Learn something new every day!

Flynn_the_Cat taught me that water strips the red light out of photographs, and that by increasing the red balance in the photos you can have the photograph represent more accurate colors of the fish! Look what Flynn was able to do to my photos!

HOW TO PLAY (THE "RULES")

-Look at the fish in each picture

-Identify the fish, and find an article about it (wikipedia or other)

-Comment on this lens with the Fish # and a link to the article telling us about the fish species

-If you can identify more than one fish, recommend another lensmaster for me to spotlight with that fish.

-Please have only one identification per comment

-If you are going to identify a fish based on a comment left by someone else, please provide a separate link about that fish so you would have done SOME work to earn your feature :)

Can you Identify these fish?

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    • profile image

      Twity 2 years ago

      I should clfiary something too. To me the funniest thing about the picture was these older women trying to walk with flippers on. You either put them on and fall over the side, scuba style, or walk into the water from the beach and put them on in the water because it's too darn hard to walk in them. But as this was a novice excursion (our day long trip got cancelled and this was the only thing we could find at the last minute to see the reef) none of these girls knew how it was done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @fish_problems: #2 looks like a saddle wrasse

    • profile image

      fish_problems 5 years ago

      I really like the picture of the puffer from the top :) I really want to know what #2 is - that's a beautiful fish!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I found schools of goatfish everywhere I went on Maui. Is #16 a yellow stripped goatfish?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just got home from Maui. I snorkeled my brains out. Number 15 was everywhere I swam - the Sargent Major. Nice pictures.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I should try this game with my kids.

    • profile image

      yourgoldenfuture 6 years ago

      have no idea about fish...

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @Board-Game-Brooke: If you are having trouble, check out the comments below, as there are some good tips. You would just need to find a different link than the ones listed :)

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @Board-Game-Brooke: If you are having trouble, check out the comments below, as there are some good tips. You would just need to find a different link than the ones listed :)

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 6 years ago from US/TN

      I'm afraid I can't help with identifying, but I did enjoy this lens! I have great memories of swimming and snorkeling in Hawaii. :-)

    • ILoveLegosToo profile image

      Tom Fattes 6 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Fish #4 looks like a Racoon Butterfly. Great lens, love the interaction.

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      Ha, you're right about 8. It does look more like a Whitespotted Toby - that gave me the most trouble, I went through three different species, but never found the Toby one.

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @FlynntheCat1: Flynn, i have credited you in #8 and #7. To be fair to others, I will let some time lapse before crediting you with your other fabulous identifications! Thanks for playing :)

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      8. Whitespotted Boxfish http://reefguide.org/spottedboxfish.html

      11. Naso Streamer Tang (also Blonde Naso Tang)

      http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/tangs/Blond...

      13. Something pelagic - not tuna, but I should know this one. I can find images but not the name.

      15. Convict Tang http://www.fishlore.com/profile-convicttang.htm

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      2 is definitely a wrasse, and it looks like a Saddle Wrasse http://www.fishbase.org/summary/speciessummary.php...

      3. Some kind of grouper, maybe, or wrasse

      4. Raccon Butterflies http://www.fishlore.com/profiles_racoon_butterflyf...

      7. Black Triggerfish - appears completely black in water - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_triggerfish

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @nebby: I know what #8 is ;) I'm waiting to see if someone else can get it before I reveal it. (I didn't know until earlier today when I found some great pictures of it online)

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @nebby: Frozen peas is part of what allowed me to get a great picture of the unicorn fish ;)

      You get credit for #14 for providing a link!

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      I would have said that # 14 is a Moorish Idol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorish_idol) it's already been identified.

      So I'll go with # 9 which is the Unicorn Fish, also called the Kala. Like the other fish in the Hawaiian islands they like to be fed frozen peas. (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/614496/u...

      Lived on Kauai for 10 years, so they are all familiar & can name them all with the exception of #8. I've seen it many times but can't remember it's name.

      This is a fun game!d

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @mythphile: I have a ton of pictures of the unicorn fish. That one was my favorite because he came RIGHT up to me so I couldn't get all of him in! ;) Great link!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image
      Author

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @blujeanmomma: I looked and saw a lot of pictures of trumpet fish that seem to match my specimen. I never realized that they can change color! Great identification.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Fish 14 is Angel Fish.

    • blujeanmomma profile image

      blujeanmomma 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      @blujeanmomma: Actually # 12 could also be a needle Fish - I can't see the fins in the photo. But it does look more like a Trumpet Fish.

      The Trumpet Fish has a wider snout than the Needle Fish and it looks like this one does have that little nub that Trumpet Fish have.

      This is a good way to get to learn about the different fishes (yes, in Hawaii they say Fishes and not Fish)

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      Oh wait, speaking of triggerfish, I think I've got #7. Common names: Black triggerfish, black durgon, Hawaiian Humuhumu'ele'ele, scientifc name Melichthys niger. (which means "black [in Latin] blackfish [in Greek]"; scientists are SO creative sometimes)

      http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com/view.php?tid=...

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      Hey, I recognize more of these than I thought! Of course, with #6-13, it's, "Oh, it's one of those guys!" Plus I would actually know and recognize a humuhumanukanukuapua'a (did I spell that right without looking?) if I saw it, only because the name fascinates me.

      #9 is easier despite the fact that the tail's cropped. It's a unicorn fish. (Gee, ya think?) I'm guessing the "unicorn surgeonfish" or "unicorn tang" , scientific name Naso unicornis.

      http://saltaquarium.about.com/od/tangsurgeonfishpr...

      I've never been snorkling, and have only been to Hawaii once in 86 when I was more interested in watching Pu'u O'o than braving the busy beaches, but I visit all the good aquariums wherever I go. Not the same as being in the water with them, though!

      I thought #11 was a triggerfish, but after hunting around I can't seem to find one with a yellow spot at the base of the tail like that. I'm probably being dense; it looks really familiar.

      Great lens and what a great way to teach fish identification! Those are mostly very clear photos.

    • blujeanmomma profile image

      blujeanmomma 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      # 12 is a Trumpet Fish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trumpetfish)

      I lived in Hawaii for 10 years & went snorkeling all the time. Could easily name them all but I'll follow the rules & just name 1.