Meet ‘ala‘ihi kalaloa the long-jaw squirrel-fish

Terry Lilley / Special to The Garden Island

The long-jaw squirrel-fish, ‘ala‘ihi kalaloa in Hawaiian, is a cave-dweller with dwindling numbers due to predation by the introduced, invasive roi (peacock grouper).

This beautiful, brigh-red-and yellow, foot-long squirrel-fish with the sad-looking face is the largest type of squirrel-fish that lives in Hawai‘i. You find them most often in deep-water caves hanging out with a school of soldierfish (‘u‘u or mempachi), but they are usually by themselves, as they are quite territorial with others of their own species.