Expand your knowledge about manō


Image by Armi Habal
Image by Armi Habal

Last month, President Obama more than quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and in doing so vastly expanded the protected area for sharks and other marine life.

The Hawaiian word for shark is manō. Sharks played many different roles in ancient Hawai‘i.

There were many shark gods, among them Kauhuhu who was the shark god of Moloka‘i. And there are many stories about sharks they have been passed down through the generations.

There is an old Hawaiian legend describing an encounter between a woman and shark. She was able to survive by telling the shark that he was her ‘aumakua. He decided that he would let her go and that she would be marked by his teeth. That way in the future he would know who she was.

It has been said that some Hawaiians tattoo their ankles to let sharks know that they are their ‘aumakua. A popular pattern found in kapa (barkcloth) is also the shark tooth pattern. It is associated with fierceness.




Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

Species in Hawai‘i

There are 350 known species of sharks worldwide, 40 of which roam in Hawaiian waters.


Hawai‘i’s top sharks

The most commonly found are the white tip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead, sandbar shark and tiger shark.


Can tan too!?!?

Hammerheads tan near the ocean’s surface. They do this to improve their ability to camouflage. (Source: Discovery Channel)


Scalloped Hammerhead
Scalloped Hammerhead


Although it’s common knowledge that sharks are highly attracted to blood, urine is also on the list. (Source: Maui Information Guide)



Everyone knows that surfing is not for the faint at heart, probably because this activity has had many end up nice and close to sharks.


Shark Season

October through December has the highest number of shark-related incidents.


Sandbar Shark
Sandbar Shark

Catch a Tiger Shark

Perhaps it’s not the smartest idea to catch one, but you can know the location of one by tracking through this website:  http://www.pacioos.hawaii.edu/projects/sharks.


Sharks vs. Dogs

There have been more deaths by dogs than sharks.


1st Time

The first documented shark attack in Hawai‘i was in 1882.


White Tip Reef Shark
Whitetip Reef Shark

Most Aggressive

The hot heads of the ocean are Galapagos and tiger sharks.


Compiled by Itzel Contreras Mendez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter