Waipio Valley Stream Restoration Study

Fish: Native Species

Scientific name: Eleotris sandwicensis
Common name(s): ‘O‘opu akupa

Eleotris sandwicensis

Status: Endemic

Habitat: Lower reaches of streams and estuarine regions, wetland areas

Preferred Area of Stream: Can be found in pools, runs, and even fast riffles, but not cascades.

Range in Hawai‘i: Common on all Hawaiian Islands

Diet: A voracious ambush predator that will any eat any fish it can capture, but will also eat a variety of aquatic insects and surprisingly also likes to eat hïhïwai and introduced thiarid snails.

Predators: Birds such as ‘auku‘u (black-crowned night-herons). Many species of native fish such as āholehole, ulua (Caranx spp.), moi (Polydactylus sexfilis) and kākü (Sphyraena barracuda) eat ‘o‘opu akupa. Introduced fish are a problem because they have brought in new parasites and all prey on this and other native ‘o‘opu species.

Fact: This species was particularly valued for eating by native Hawaiians because of its tasty white meat. Today ‘o‘opu akupa are also prized as baitfish for pāpio fishing by modern anglers. ‘O‘opu akupa are difficult to keep in aquariums because they are very aggressive and will literally eat anything smaller than itself.