CRITTER: Crustose coralline algae: Lava reef cement

Giant waves have been crashing on the lava coastline in Kauai for millions of years. These waves break down the lava rock over time but we still have nice flat lava reefs we surf over. Why aren’t our reefs all ground up into sand? A million years of crashing waves should have reduced our porous lava reefs into rubble.

CRITTER: There’s an easy way to determine the sex of lobsters

There are many rules and regulations about catching lobsters for food, depending what part of the world you live in. Many countries and the state of Hawai‘i have lobster seasons, and also forbid the taking of female lobsters. The problem is most people do not know how to sex a lobster!

CRITTER: Meet pohaku puna the finger coral

The giant finger coral is one of the most common coral species in Hawai‘i, but are often missidentified. This coral can grow for hundreds of years and build an entire reef over time, and when you are walking in downtown Waikiki you are standing on a massive fossil reef of this coral species!

CRITTER: Meet the Long-Handed Spiny Lobster

I was diving down a steep underwater 400 foot cliff near the island of Ni‘ihau and at about 100 feet deep my dive buddy pointed into a hole in the cliff to show me something interesting to take a video of.

CRITTER: Meet pupu’ala the Hebrew Cone Shell

Almost every jewelry store in Hawai‘i sells puka shell necklaces but very few people know where these puka shells come from! Hawaii is very unique because we have large surf that crashes directly onto our reefs and beaches grinding up corals and shells. This is what makes our beach sand so beautiful but it makes it very hard to find whole shells up on the beach.

CRITTER: Meet kahala the Almaco Jack

When out diving in Hawaiian waters you may see a very large four foot long silver colored fish go by which is not too unusual as we have some big fish species that live in fairly shallow water.

CRITTER: Meet manini the Convict Tang

Almost all divers here in Hawaii have seen large schools of manini as they are the most common fish that lives in shallow water but most divers do not know how important this fish is to the entire marine ecosystem.

CRITTER: Meet the Hawaiian Tiger Flatworm

We have lots of strange creatures that live out on our coral reefs here in Hawaii but the Tiger Flatworm ranks as one of the most bizarre. This three inch long very colorful creature crawls across the reef during the day and is highly poisonous. It contains in its skin tetrodotoxin which is the same poison that our pufferfish have in their skin.

CRITTER: Night snorkeling with the Ambon Toby

Going out on a night snorkel is like visiting a whole new planet! It is safe to do a night snorkel in shallow calm water when the surf is very small. Calm lagoons are best like Anini Beach in Kauai or Pupukea tide pool in Oahu.

CRITTER: Meet the blue rice coral

We have bright blue and purple corals that live in very shallow water here in Hawaii and also occur on other Pacific Islands from Palau to Tahiti!