Meet uhu, the pale-nose parrot-fish

  • Terry Lilley/ special to the garden island

    Uhu is the pale-nose parrot-fish.

The 18-inch-long palenose parrot-fish is the most-common parrotfish species we have here in Hawai‘i, and also the smallest. Several of the other species grow up to three feet long, and they are all collectively known as uhu. The Hawaiian name uhu means “loose bowels,” as every time you see one of these fish zoom by they are always pooping. This is because they eat sick or dying coral with their sharp, beak-like teeth, and then they poop out the bits of dead coral which helps make our beautiful white sandy beaches here. This fish is super important to the health of the coral reef, as it eats the sick coral, making room for new healthy coral growth.