Marine Life You’ll Only See in Hawaii

by Mar 12, 2021Travel Maui

The Hawaiian archipelago is the most isolated group of islands on Planet Earth.  Because of its unique geographical position, NOAA scientists estimate that around 75% of the marine life in Hawai’i is endemic, or can’t be seen anywhere else.  Hawaiian marine life includes the world’s rarest seal and many types of coral that you can’t see anywhere else. Hawksbill turtles, manta rays and spinner dolphins also call Hawai’i home.

Hawaiian Monk Seal

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered animals in the world. Marine debris entanglement, starvation and shark attacks are the main threats to this very special seal.  You’re extra lucky if you encounter a monk seal while in Hawai’i.  If you do see one, please give it its distance (100 yards) so that they do not become conditioned to human behavior.


Angelfish fans who visit Hawai’i will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. The masked angelfish, bandit angelfish and Potter’s Angelfish are just a few of the angels waiting to say aloha to divers. You can see all three of these endemic fish on our Lanai Cathedrals dive trip. 

Milletseed Butterflyfish

The milletseed butterflyfish, also known as the lemon butterflyfish, is endemic to Hawai’i and found at depths down to 250 metres/820 feet. Friendly and non-territorial, you may see these fish in large schools when you dive the Cathedrals or our Hammerhead Drift Charter. 

Hawaiian Bigeye

When you drop in on a dive site, you might see a Hawaiian Bigeye staring back at you. This red, sometimes silver fish, can be distinguished from non-Hawaiian bigeye fish because of their tendency to school and also by a series of dark spots along the fishes’ side.  One of our favorite places to spot these guys is in the Cathedrals where their silhouette is outlined until you shine a torch and illuminate their bright red color.

 Hawai’i is a special place where life has evolved in beautiful and amazing ways. The marine animals listed above are just a few of the endemic critters you may see when diving with us. The islands are also home to the fangblenny and psychedelic wrasse in addition to other bucket list marine life including: harlequin shrimp and (seasonally) humpback whales.  Come dive with us and your expert guide will be stoked to point out all the marine life and answer your questions.


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Dive Maui / Hawaiian Rafting Adventures

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Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Tel: (808) 661-7333


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