The US state of Hawaii is located in Oceania, which makes it the only US state that is located in Oceania, the only one made up entirely of islands, and the only one outside North American boundaries. The state is the youngest state after its admission to the union on August 21, 1959. Nicknamed the Aloha State, the Islands of Aloha, and the Paradise of the Pacific, Hawaii has an area of about 10,931 square miles. When it comes to marine symbols, it is not a surprise that Hawaii has several of them considering that it is surrounded by the ocean. Aside from the official state fish, the state also has an official state mammal, state marine animal, and state gem.
State Fish: Humuhumunukunukuapua`a
The official Hawaii state fish is known as the Humuhumunukunukuapua`a, which is scientifically known as Rhinecanthus rectangulus. Other names for the fish include the reef triggerfish and the rectangular triggerfish. The fish was designated as the state fish on a five-year trial in 1985. The official and permanent designation happened recently in 2006. The small fish has blue teeth and a blue upper lip, which are all part of its chubby mouth. Their bodies can grow up to 30 centimeters in length. During feeding, they often sift through sand for food. As a defense mechanism, they emit a grunt that may be for scaring off predators or warning other triggerfish nearby.
State Marine Mammal: Humpback Whale
The official state marine mammal is the humpback whale, which is scientifically called Megaptera novaeangliae. The humpback whale was officially designated as Hawaii's state marine mammal in 1979. The humpback whale can grow to lengths of between 39 and 52 feet and weigh between 25 and 30 metric tons. The endangered whale migrates a distance of up to 16,000 miles in a year. Their bodies feature a lumpy head and long pectoral fins. In recent years, their populations have been recovering due to conservation efforts.
State Mammal: Hawaiian Monk Seal
In 2008, the state adopted another marine mammal, namely the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Endemic to Hawaii, this endangered seal is one of the only two surviving species of monk seals. Presently, there are only 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals. Diseases and commercial hunting constantly threaten their numbers. Their bodies are gray and can grow to weights of up to 400 pounds for males and up to 600 pounds for females. On average, females have lengths of around 8 feet while males grow to lengths of about 7 feet.
State Gem: Black Coral
Black coral was designated as the Hawaii state gem back in 1987. Presently, there are more than 150 species of black coral. At least 10 of them are from Hawaii. Mostly, the corals live in clusters of up to 6 feet tall although they can also live individually.