Animals in Hawaii

Hawaii, the only tropical state of the United States, is home to hundreds of animals and birds – many endemic to the archipelago. Hawaii boasts a unique biogeography, which is the result of the archipelago being separate from the mainland. It has allowed wildlife in the region to develop and adapt on its own – for both land and marine flora and fauna.

The region’s wildlife has declined ever since humans began colonizing the islands. Currently, it has the highest number of threatened and endangered animals in the US. Several animals have gone extinct, but efforts are in place to save and revive the remaining wildlife in the state.

There are two national parks – Haleakalā National Park, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, while many other areas are under the protection of the National Park Service.

Animals in Hawaii (HI)

List of Different Types of Animals Found in Hawaii

All the animals in the list are native to the Hawaiian archipelago unless otherwise mentioned.

Mammals

Endemic

Marine Mammals Seasonally Found in the State’s Coastal Waters

  • Humpback Whale (Koholā)
  • North Pacific Right Whale
  • Minke Whale
  • Bryde’s Blue Whale
  • Fin Whale
  • Bryde’s Whale
  • Blue Whale
  • Spinner Dolphin
  • False Killer Whale

Birds

  • Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose)
  • Hawaiian Duck
  • Hawaiian Petrel
  • Hawaii ‘amakihi
  • Hawaiʻi ʻakepa
  • Hawaiian Black Noddy
  • Laysan Albatross
  • Red-tailed Tropicbirds
  • Great Frigatebirds

Reptiles

  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle
  • Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles
  • Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (not considered native, but can be seen in the state’s coastal waters)

Amphibians

No amphibian species are native to Hawaii, but a few introduced species of frogs and toads exist. Most of these have now become invasive and are a threat to the Hawaiian ecosystem.

Fishes

There are over 40 types of sharks, and numerous different fish species in Hawaii, though they are not all native to the state.

  • Reef Triggerfish (Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa)
  • Tiger Shark
  • Bull Shark
  • Hammerhead Shark
  • White-tip Reef Shark
  • Ocean Surgeonfish (moana)
  • Yelloweye Surgeonfish (kole)
  • Hawaiian Grouper (roi)
  • Saddle Wrasse (weke)
  • Christmas Wrasse (weke ‘ula)
  • Yellowtail Wrasse (weke ‘ula ‘ula)
  • Hawaiian Flagtail (aholehole)
  • Parrotfish (uhu)
  • Japanese Amberjack
  • Blacktail Snapper (toau)
  • Bluestripe Snapper (nunu)
  • Giant Trevally (ulua)
  • Hawaiian Grouper (hapu’u)
  • Blacktail Grouper (ta’ape)
  • Bluefin Trevally (‘omilu)
  • Hawaiian Bigeye (‘aweoweo)
  • Bigeye Emperor (u’u)
  • Bonefish (‘o’io)
  • Rudderfish (hinalea)
  • Threadfin (moi)
  • Triggerfish (hana pa’a)
  • Unicornfish (kala)

Invertebrates

  • Pulelehua (Kamehameha butterfly)
  • Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bee
  • Giant Centipede
  • Hawaiian Cleaner Shrimp
  • Tidepool Hermit Crab
  • Featherduster Worms
  • Box Crab
  • Sea Cucumbers
  • Sea Urchins
  • Sea Slugs
  • Cone Snail
  • Banded Spiny Lobster (Endemic)
  • Sea Anemones
  • Octopuses 
  • Sea Stars
  • Hawaiian Mantis Shrimp
  • Brittle Stars
  • Hawaiian Flatworm
  • Hawaiian Barnacle
  • Hawaiian Nudibranch
  • Sea Sponges
  • Box Jellyfish
  • Moon Jellyfish
  • Portuguese Man o’ War
  • Hawaiian Sea Snail

Animals Introduced to the Hawaiian Ecosystem

There are hundreds of introduced species on the Hawaiian islands, most of which are now considered invasive:

  • Indian Mongoose
  • Chital Deer
  • Feral Wallaby
  • Feral Cattle
  • Feral Pigs
  • Feral Goats
  • Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby
  • Feral Wallaby
  • Jackson Chameleon
  • Brown Anole
  • Brahminy Blind Snake
  • Green Iguana
  • Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle
  • Emoia Impar
  • Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog
  • Cane Toad
  • Swordtail
  • Suckermouth Catfish
  • Little Fire Ants
  • Coffee Berry Borer
  • Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
  • Brown Recluse
  • Brown Violin Spider
Hawaii State Animals

State Animals of Hawaii

State MammalʻĪlioholoikauaua (Hawaiian Monk Seal)
State Land MammalŌpeʻapeʻa (Hawaiian Hoary Bat)
State Marine MammalKoholā (Humpback Whale)
State BirdNēnē (Hawaiian Goose)
State FishHumuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (Reef Triggerfish)
State InsectPulelehua (Kamehameha Butterfly)

FAQ

What are the most dangerous animals in Hawaii?

Hawaii has no predatory land animals, so the most dangerous animals you might encounter in the state’s forests may be feral pigs or insects like giant centipedes, fire ants, and spiders. There are no snakes, either. However, the waters of the state are full of sharks, jellyfish, and other potentially deadly marine animals like the cone snail, yellow-bellied sea snake, and sea urchins.

What are some of the rarest endangered animals in Hawaii?

As mentioned, Hawaii is home to plenty of rare and endangered animals with the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian monk seal, Nēnē, Hawksbill sea turtle, Hawaiian green sea turtles are listed ans threatened or endangered by the IUCN.

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