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Hawaii is a beautiful place both to live and to vacation. Those who visit this island paradise are wowed by the many amazing natural wonders, ranging from volcanoes to animal life. In fact, many species of both plants and animals are native to Hawaii, and can only be found in the state. Read on for more information about the unique sea life that’s found only in this tropical utopia.

male_masked_angelfishReef Fishes

Hawaii is home to thousands of different species of fish, and as many as 50% of the fish that are found in Hawaii are found nowhere else   in the world. These fish are known as endemic Hawaiian fishes, meaning that they’re only found in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. Some of the amazing endemic fishes that you might be able to catch a peek of when snorkeling or scuba diving through one of Hawaii’s many coral reefs include Potter’s Angel fish, a fish that is striped with nearly every color of the rainbow. You might also spot the Juvenile Masked Angelfish, which has a snow white body with a black head and fin, or the male Masked Angelfish, which is a beautiful turquoise with bright orange fins.

These waters are also home to the Hawaiian Bigeye, which is bright red and aptly named for its large, black eyes and the Ewa Fangblenny, a very tiny species of fish that has two bright turquoise stripes running from head to tail along its reddish body. However, these are just a few of the types of fish that are native to Hawaii—there are many more interesting, colorful, and unique species swimming throughout the reefs.

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Hawaiian Monk Seal

Of all of the marine mammals that live in the waters surrounding Hawaii, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is the only one that is native to the island and inhabits its waters only. The monk seals live in the Northwestern islands, and live off of fish, lobsters, octopuses, and eels. These seals can get up to 7.5 feet in length, and weigh up to 610 pounds. Unfortunately, the seals are currently on the endangered species list, and their numbers continue to dwindle despite conservation efforts.

Endemic Coral

Hawaii is a prime spot in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving to observe the amazing coral reef. In Hawaii, nearly 90% of the coral is endemic, or existing in the waters of Hawaii alone. A common misconception about coral is that it is a plant. In fact, coral is a type of animal that belongs to a group of animals known as Cnidarians. Jellyfish and sea anemones are also Cnidarians. Of the types of coral in Hawaii that are endemic, 47 are hard, stony corals, 93 species are sea fan coral, and 13 species are species other than soft coral, such as black coral. In addition to being highly interesting and beautiful, the coral helps to support the islands’ native algae species, 80 of which are endemic to the island as well.

sea_turtleOther Hawaiian Sea Life

While the majority of sea life that’s native to Hawaii revolves around fish, coral, algae or seaweed, there are many other amazing creatures that inhabit Hawaiian seas. Three different species of sea turtles, all of which are protected by law, live in Hawaii, although the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is the only one likely to be seen. Additionally, many other sea mammals call Hawaii’s waters home, like the humpback whale, bottlenose dolphin, and short-finned pilot whale.

If you’re dying to see some of the unique and interesting sea life that Hawaii has to offer, don’t wait any longer. Body Glove Hawaii offers several tour packages to take you out on the water and get you up close and personal with the fascinating and beautiful sea life that calls Hawaii home.

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