Heʻe or Hawaiian octopus are a popular food item highly sought after by local fishermen who catch them by hand or using spears. Early Hawaiians also relished octopus and captured them either by spearing or by using lures made of a large cowry shell lashed onto a hook. In Hawai‘i, there are two common species of octopus: the “day octopus”, called he‘e, is a small, brown and tan mottled octopus that is found on shallow reef flats and down the reef slope to depths of 150 feet (45 m); and the “night octopus” or he‘e-mākoko, a rusty red animal with white spots on the body and arms. As its name implies, this species is nocturnal, hunting for food at night and sheltering by day. This species was rarely eaten, but may have been used in medicine. Both octopus species feed on crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crabs) and molluscs (primarily cowry snails). Their dens are often recognized by the pile of broken crab and snail shells (remnants of past meals) found just outside the entrance. Learn More.
Kahaluʻu, Oʻahu; Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu
Galbraith "Gabby" Kawelo and daughter is a lawaiʻa (fisher) from Kahaluʻu, Oʻahu. Uncle Gabby is well known as an ʻokilo heʻe (octopus fisher) and the proud father of Hiʻilei Kawelo, Executive Director of Paepae o Heʻeia.
Kaneʻohe Bay, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu