Hawaiian Islands




Drafted by A. Jenkins and J. Hales contributed inforamation to this text.


United States

Major Habitat Type

Oceanic Islands

Drainages flowing into

Pacific Ocean

Main rivers to other water bodies

Wailuku, Kaukonahua, Waimea, Anahulu, Hanalei, and Wailua rivers.



The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands and atolls in the North Pacific around 4100 km southwest of Los Angeles.

Terrestrial habitats

This ecoregion is composed of several terrestrial ecoregions, including the Hawaii tropical moist forests [ecoregion OC0106], Hawaii tropical dry forests [OC0202], Hawaii tropical low shrublands [OC0702], and Hawaii tropical high shrublands [OC0701] (WWF 2001).

Description of endemic fishes

Endemic species include the Sandwhich Island sleeper (Eleotris sandwicensis), Hawaiian flagtail (Kuhlia xenura), Alamo’o (Lentipes concolor), Stimpson’s goby (Sicyopterus stimpsoni), and O’opu naniha (Stenogobius hawaiiensis).

Other noteworthy fishes

The Hawaiian Islands are noted for its endemic gobies that can climb rocks against the currents of fast- moving streams and waterfalls. For example, the endemic Alamo’o (Lentipes concolor) is noted for its incredible ability to climb Hi‘ilawe Falls, which has a vertical drop of nearly 300 m.

Justification for delineation

The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands has contributed to a highly distinct freshwater fish fauna.

Level of taxonomic exploration

There is quite a long history of freshwater research in the Hawaiian islands and as such the diversity of freshwater fishes is quite well known (see McDowall 2002).


  • McDowall, R. M. (2002). "Accumulating evidence for a dispersal biogeography of southern cool temperate freshwater fishes" Journal of Biogeography 29 (2) pp. 207-219.
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2001) \Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World\ "<"http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial_nt.html">"
  • Gillespie, R.G.;D.A. Clague (2009). "Encyclopedia of Islands" Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • IUCN (2012) \IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2\ "<"www.iucnredlist.org">" (21 May 2013)