Feature - Nohu, Land and Sea Counterparts
Titan Scorpion Fish
Scorpaenopsis cacopsis (Jenkins)
Tribulus citadoides (unknown)
Hawaiian Name (for both): Nohu
of the most important concepts in science and ecology is
the interrelationship between different species in the web
of life. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands, as they provide an excellent backdrop
to studying the roles of various plant and animal species
in their communities. Both in land and sea, certain species
of life play similar roles and functions in their environment.
in Hawai`i, this was understood, as plants and animals were
assigned names according to how they functioned holistically
in the natural world. One example of this is the Hawaiian
nohu. On land, the nohu (Tribulus citadoides)
is known as the "puncture vine," and it is an
indigenous perennial plant that crawls along the ground
in dry areas. In the sea, the nohu (Scorpaenopsis
cacopsis) is known as the "titan scorpion fish,"
and it is a mottled orange-red fish, with fleshy flaps on
its head and body, with long dorsal spines and pectoral
rays. This fish lives in the reef areas, usually under overhangs.
one is a plant, and the other is an animal, both of these
species share some very similar characteristics. Both the
plant and the fish have spikes as a natural means of defense
against predators. The nohu plant has large spiny seeds
that aid in its ability to withstand predators. Similarly,
the nohu fish has large dorsal spines that are venomous
and protect it from larger fish. Both of these species are
camouflaged, meaning they blend in well with their environment.
They are both hearty species that thrive in difficult areas.
They can be found in large populations in Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands compared to our main eight islands, so this is a
great opportunity to highlight these two remarkable species
that are so beautiful, yet dangerous to step on!
Tips: If stuck by a venomous nohu fish spine place
the wounded body part in water as hot as can be tolerated
this will lessen the pain. Then go and see a doctor immediately!
Also if you are on land, in areas where the nohu
plant grows, wear thick footwear so you the spikes don't
get through. If they do happen to go through your shoes,
don't worry they are not poisonous like the fish. Just take
care of your cut so that it doesn't get infected.
by Scott Kikiloi, graduate researcher, Center for Hawaiian
Randall 1996 Shore Fishes of Hawai`i.