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Which Hawaiian Fish has the Longest Name?

17 Jun 2022 4 Min read
hawaiian fish longest name

Hawaii is home to a plethora of unique and beautiful fish species. Some of them have interesting names in the Hawai'ian language! But which Hawai'ian fish has the longest name?

What Fish Has The Longest Name?

There are many fish that have long names. However, there is one fish that has the longest name in Hawai'ian. It is the Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi. Its name includes 25 Hawai'ian letters!

The Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi has the longest name in Hawai'ian. Including the apostrophes, known as okina, there are 25 letters in its name! It means “long-snouted fish shaped like a wiliwili leaf.”

Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi is definitely a long name! But are there other Hawai'ian fish with long names? What Hawai'ian fish have the shortest names? Read on to find out!

What Is The Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi?

hawaiian fish longest name

The name Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi refers to two species of fish: the Forcipiger flavissimus (Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish) and the Forcipiger longirostris (Longnose Butterflyfish).

The name Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi roughly means “long-snouted fish shaped like a wiliwili leaf.” The wiliwili tree, along with both species of Butterflyfish, is native to Hawaii.

These yellow, square-shaped fish live in the coral reefs off the coast of Hawai'i. Their long noses help them eat small crustaceans, echinoderms, and sea urchins. These fish are also monogamous and mate for life!

What Fish Has the Longest Common Name?

The “Hawaiian sergeant major damselfish” has the longest common name. These fish are found all over the Indo-Pacific Ocean. They are also one of the most common fishes found off the coast of Hawai'i. They are well-known for stealing bait off fishermen's hooks!

What About Hawai'i's State Fish?

The Humuhumunukunukuapua`a is Hawai'i's state fish. While it does have a very long name, it isn't as long as Lauwiliwilinukunukuʻoiʻoi! Humuhumunukunukuapua`a only has 22 letters, so it's a little bit shorter than the longest fish name in Hawai'ian!

The Humuhumunukunukuapua`a is also known as the reef triggerfish. These fish feed on small invertebrates under the sand. They blow small jets of water from their mouths to uncover the invertebrates from the substrate. They are solitary fishes and prefer to hunt alone.

Other Hawai'ian Fish With Long Names

Because there are so many fish that live within the reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, their common names are often very long. This makes it easier to distinguish between the different subspecies. Here are some more fish with long names!

Exclamation point dragonet

These small scaleless fish live in Hawai'i, Japan, New Caledonia, and Tonga. Because they are such small fish, sightings are infrequent. They're only 1.5 inches long! Their coloring blends into the sand to protect them from predators.

Hawaiian freckled frogfish

These little fishes are so cool! They mimic sponges on reefs to surprise their prey. They use their fins like feet to grip onto the substrate or coral. Frogfish have a small lure above their mouths to increase their chances of catching prey. When the fish swim closer to look at the lure, the frogfish sucks it into its mouth!

Hawaiian white-spotted toby

These adorable little fishes are a type of pufferfish. They're usually less than 4 inches long! They have bright green eyes that contrast beautifully with their brown and white spots. They typically swim in pairs while looking for algae amongst hard substrate.

South Pacific sand burrower

The South Pacific sand burrower is not a fish. They're actually tiny crustaceans! These little crabs are only about 1.4 inches long and blend in perfectly with the sand. They have no claws, but their five legs make them very fast burrowers!

What Fish Have The Shortest Names?

There are three fishes whose Hawai'ian names are short. They are the A'u, Mu, and U'u. In Hawai'ian, the apostrophe is called an okina and is considered a letter. So the A'u and U'u are three letters long!

The Swordfish, A'u

A'u is the Hawai'ian name for all types of swordfish. These fish are commonly caught off the coast of Hawai'i. They're typically sold in fish markets across the islands because they produce a lot of meat. They can weigh up to 1,600lbs!

U'u, The Soldierfish

U'u, while their name looks similar to the A'u, is actually a different type of fish. Its common name is the Hawai'ian big-scale soldierfish. It's a bright red fish that changes to a silver color at night! They're a schooling fish that weighs about 1lb when fully grown.

The Bigeye Emperor Fish, Mu

The Mu is also known as the Bigeye emperor fish. They're nocturnal fish that eat small crustaceans in the shallow parts of the reef. These olive-colored fish have bright red on the insides of their mouth!


All of these fish have great names! Hawai'ian is a beautiful language that uniquely describes these fish. What was your favorite name on this list?