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Map That Habitat: Follow the Life Cycle of A Hawaiian Fish Across Many Habitats

May 27, 2020

A map-making activity for youth takes students on a journey through the various habitats a Hawaiian bonefish inhabits throughout its life cycle.


Habitats are homes. And for ‘ō‘io (Hawaiian bonefishes), home is somewhere new for each stage of their life cycle, from egg to adult.

When we think about migration, the upstream journey of salmon or the large-scale movement of tuna across an entire ocean may come to mind. But even the smallest migrations are important to the animals who undertake them.

Make Your Own Habitat Map

Map your way through the migration of the ‘ō‘io (Hawaiian bonefish), from the open waters of the pelagic zone to tiny, nurturing estuaries and beyond!

This map-coloring activity allows students to explore the different habitats where ‘ō‘io live. Students will create a unique pattern to represent the habitats on their map. They will also learn about some of the different forms and functions of each stage of the ‘ō‘io life cycle along the way.

Close-up of a student designing a fish habitat using patterns.

Students design their own patterns to represent different habitats across the map and in the map key.

Pattern examples of fish map habitat acitivity.

Illustrated pattern examples that represent different habitats. What pattern will you create on your map to represent the different ‘ō‘io habitats?

Helping Habitat: It Helps Us!

Protecting all types of habitat is vital to the species who depend on them, including all of us who rely on our oceans for food and fun. By appreciating the different habitats that fish rely on throughout their lives, we can better understand how to protect them. We can also learn how our choices can make a difference in the health of our planet.

Download the habitat mapping activity 

File formats are available in PDF and JPEG. To illustrate your fish life stages and habitats on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, launch your preferred digital art software or application and open or import the JPEG file.

Check out the recorded webinar and learn more about the journey of ‘ō’io across different habitats!

Audience: Grades 3-5

Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
  • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
  • LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Learn More

  • Types of Habitat - Explore other types of habitat that are important to fish and learn more about the ones in the activity.
  • NOAA Habitat Restoration Atlas - Get to know habitat restoration projects in your area and how you can get involved.
  • Conserving Habitat in the Pacific Islands - The Pacific Islands region maps marine habitats across the Pacific, studying their physical and biological properties, along with impacts like marine debris, invasive species, and pollutants.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on May 27, 2020