20 Oct 2012

What on earth is humuhumnukunukuapua'a?

I was reading about facts about Hawaii when I found out it's state fish is a very long h-word, humuhumunukunukuapua'a. It means 'fish who grunts like a pig' and it's English name is 'Reef Triggerfish'.

It is a common belief that humhumunukunukuapua'a (pronounced who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-a-poo-a-a) is be the longest Hawaiian name for a fish.
Image by Dan Carter
Image by Steve Mohundro
"The name is longer than the fish"
Image by 'Nemo's great uncle'
"A humunuku-what?"
Also, the lauwiliwilinukunuku'oi'oi (Longnose Butterflyfish) meaning 'long snorted fish shaped like a wiliwili leaf' is the longest name for a fish in Hawaiian. It's pronounced 'lao-willy-willy-noo-koo-noo-koo-oy-oy'. 
Image by Derek Keats
Image by Ross Thomson

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