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Exotic fish with odd name causes problems at aquarium

A Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a
The Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a fish is highly toxic if eaten and can be aggressive in the wild

An exotic Hawaiian triggerfish with an unpronounceable name has been causing problems for staff at a Hastings aquarium.

The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a fish, which can be found across the Pacific Ocean, has proved popular with visitors to the Blue Reef Aquarium.

But staff there have been struggling to pronounce its name when asked and have resorted to calling it a wedge tail triggerfish.

Kate Buss, who works at the East Sussex aquarium, said: "He's a beautiful-looking fish but none of us have got the faintest idea how to pronounce his name.

"It's proving a little embarrassing when we do our public talks and feeding demonstrations as he's the one fish in the toxic reef display that everyone always asks us about.

"We got someone to write it out phonetically but that really wasn't any clearer and we tried just calling him a wedge tail triggerfish, which is an alternate name, but no one's letting us get away with that either."

The phonetic spelling of its name is Hooma-hooma nooku-nooku apoo-wa and Hawaiians use the fish to identify whether someone is a native by asking them to pronounce the name properly.

The fish's aggressive nature in the wild and sharp teeth make it a potential threat to divers. It is also reputed to be highly toxic if eaten.

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