Hunters on the Reef

In this exhibit

Zebra Sharks
Giant groupers
Bluefin trevally

Sharks, jacks and groupers are among the top predators on coral reefs. They provide a natural balance that helps keep the reef community healthy and stable.

Sharks have occasionally been known to attack people for reasons we don’t fully understand. But experienced divers, fishermen and scientists know that sharks are not the man-eaters we often make them out to be. Unfortunately, these magnificent animals are being overfished in many areas of the world. As a result, some shark species have been listed on endangered species list.

Sharks figure prominently in Hawaiian culture and are known generically as “mano”. For some families, individual sharks may be considered guardian spirits or aumakua. Hawaiians use sharks for food and tools. In ancient times, their skin was used for sandpaper and for drum heads, and their teeth were utilized in hand weapons and cutting tools.

Other large predators in this exhibit include jacks and groupers. Jacks or trevally, known locally as ulua, are a popular food and game fish. They are the most common predators on Hawaiian reefs. Groupers are among the largest fish residing on coral reefs. The giant groupers in this tank could reach 8 feet (2.44 m) in length and weigh over 800 lbs (360 kg).