OK yes say this three times fast! This is the state fish of Hawaii and believe it or not most people in Hawaii know how to pronounce this word and know this fish well! Humuhumunukunukuapua'a is the Hawaiian name for the Reef Triggerfish and is translated as "fish with the pig-nosed face."
What probably jumps out at you immediately is the unusual shape of this fish and that is what the Hawaiian name encapsulates in one word. There are about 40 different species of triggerfish and they all have this general shape. They are slow moving, colorful reef fish, often found in the tropics. They have strong jaws with teeth adapted for crushing shells. They eat snails, clams, crabs, lobsters, sea urchins and other creatures that most fish are not able to eat because of their protective shells.
What I think is the coolest thing about the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, cooler than the stunning colors and cooler than their unusual shape, is how they swim. Sitting underwater, watching a Humuhumu swim, is hypnotic. No other fish swims quite like this. They generally do not use their tail to swim! Instead, they use their dorsal and anal fins, the long symmetrical ones you see at the top & bottom, undulating side to side to glide around the reef. Watching these fins slowly oscillate back and forth as they glide around curiously exploring the reef is mesmerizing. Hopefully my painting can bring this relaxing feeling from the reef into your home.