Watch Out for Fireworm in Hawaii

Fireworm in Hawaii
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Watch Out for Fireworm in Hawaii

Fireworms are the centipedes of the sea.  And with that said, it’s best to avoid the little ocean critters as much as possible. Simply touching their bristles will result in stinging, burning, and possibly nausea and dizziness. That’ll easily ruin a fun day at the beach. 

So let’s learn about fireworms and how to avoid them during your Hawaii vacation

Hiding in the Rocks

The good news is that it’s not super common to encounter a fireworm in Hawaii. Though they can be found throughout the Hawaiian Islands year-round, we hardly notice them because they only come out from their rock hidings at night. 

During breeding season, however, fireworms make themselves more visible by swimming along the surface instead of the ocean floor.

Fireworms in the rocks

Fireworm Quick Facts

Here are a few fun (or not-so-fun) facts about fireworms:

  • They are typically 2-4 inches long, but some are over a foot long. 
  • When they ascend to the water’s surface to breed, they emit a bioluminescent light.
  • Their stings aren’t fatal but do cause intense pain.
  • Like other worms, they can regenerate segments of their body when they split in half.

My Fireworm Encounter in Hawaii

I spotted one while walking beside an exposed North Shore reef one afternoon. Its long and skinny features definitely resemble a centipede. Luckily, I wasn’t in the water, so I wasn’t at risk of their painful venom.  

Like several other creatures in nature, the beauty of the fireworm can be deceptive. So, if you encounter an unknown plant or animal like these, it’s best to leave it alone because you just never know if they’ll be harmful. 

I guess this is something we learn as kids (by mistakes, mostly). But all too often, when we’re on vacation, we let down our guard and forget all common sense! So be aware when you’re in the ocean and don’t touch any sea creatures.