Wild Hawaiʻi: 9 Amazing Flora and Fauna on the Big Island (Warning: #8 May Creep You Out!)

Hawaii is home to a plethora of incredible plants and animals, from giant humpback whales and spotted sea turtles to passion flowers and mountain apples. Hawaii’s wildlife draws tourists to embark on nature hikes and sea excursions. While you may expect to see amazing aquatic life during a visit to Hawaii, some other wildlife and plant species you can encounter may surprise you. Read on to learn about amazing wildlife and vegetation you might spot while visiting the Aloha State.


Lychees. The lychee is a sweet tree fruit originally found in China and Asia. Since its arrival in Hawaii in 1873, the lychee has become a popular fruit for eating and for use in cooking and cocktails.


Star apples. Hawaiian star apples, also know as Star Fruit or Five Finger Fruit, are similar to typical apples. You’ll find purple-skinned and green-skinned star apples in Hawaii, and their name originates from the star-shaped pattern which is visible when the fruit is sliced.


Hawaiian monk seals. The monk seals are the only species of seal endemic to Hawaii. These lethargic mammals feed on the bony fish found in the Hawaiian reefs and are often seen sunbathing on remote outcroppings around the islands.


Green sea turtles. Green sea turtles, or Honu, frequently visit the reefs and seagrass beds around Hawaii. Females lay their eggs in burrows along the shore. Baby turtles hatch and scuttle their way to the sea. This is a dangerous journey for the baby turtles, and many wildlife conservationists and activists guard the babies from natural predators on their way out.


Humpback whales. These massive sea mammals make regular migrations from their feeding grounds in the North Pacific Ocean to Hawaiian waters for mating and birthing young. Hawaii is often considered a prime whale-watching location, and these creatures are common sited around the islands during the winter months.


Kona Typica Coffee Beans. Coffee first arrived in Oahu in 1813 and slowly became one of the state’s major exports over the next century. Today, Kona coffee is renowned for its incredible flavor. The Hawaiian climate and growing conditions are ideal for producing top-quality Kona coffee.


Oceanic manta rays. One of the strangest and most visually dazzling creatures of the sea is commonly found exploring Hawaii’s reefs in search of plankton. Mantas can grow to 16 feet across and are often spotted by snorkelers.


Hawaiian hoary bats. Of the few species of endemic mammals found on Hawaii, the Hawaiian hoary bat is one of the many endangered species found on the islands of Hawai’i and Kaua’i. These bats feed on insects and have wingspans that measure up to 14 inches across.


Humuhumunukunukuapua`a. Yes, you read that correctly. The humuhumunukunukuapua`a is the Hawaiian state fish, also known as the Hawaiian triggerfish. These strange and beautiful fish dislodge from the sea floor by shooting jets of water out of their mouths.

During your next visit to the Big Island, see how many of these species you can spot. Hawaii is home to more endangered species than any other state and boasts some of the most vast and beautiful wildlife habitats in the world.

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