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Updated 6/21/2014

Family Balistidae

Triggerfishes

Triggerfishes have hard diamond-shaped scales that interlock to form a tough but flexible body armor and have numerous spines on the caudal peduncle.  The spiny dorsal fin is composed of several stout spines positioned rearward of the eyes.  In comparison, Filefishes have leathery skin covered with small bristles and a spiny dorsal fin directly above the eyes.  The pelvic fins are reduced to a bony nub.  Most swimming is done by undulating the soft dorsal and anal fins while the tail is reserved for sudden bursts of speed.  They have sharp incisiform teeth used to crush shellfish and defend their nests.  Some species will attack humans while nesting or accidentally bite fish-feeders, causing serious injury.  A few species feed upon zooplankton in the water column rather than benthic organisms.

Predation on sea urchin, Wailea, Maui Rubble nests of Balistes polylepis, Waianae, Oahu

 

HAWAII

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

LAGOON TRIGGERFISH

 

Rhinecanthus rectangulus

REEF or PICASSO TRIGGERFISH

 

Melichthys vidua

PINKTAIL TRIGGERFISH

 

Melichthys niger

BLACK TRIGGERFISH

 

Sufflamen bursa

LEI TRIGGERFISH

 

Sufflamen fraenatum

BRIDLED TRIGGERFISH

 

Xanthichthys auromarginatus

GILDED TRIGGERFISH, Female

 

Xanthichthys auromarginatus

GILDED TRIGGERFISH, Male

 

Xanthichthys mento

CROSSHATCH TRIGGERFISH, Female

 

Xanthichthys mento

CROSSHATCH TRIGGERFISH, Male

 

Xanthichthys caeruleolineatus

BLUELINED TRIGGERFISH

 

Balistes willughbeii

OCEAN TRIGGERFISH, Juvenile

 

Balistes polylepis 

FINESCALED TRIGGERFISH

 


INDO-PACIFIC

Balistoides conspicillum

CLOWN TRIGGERFISH

 

Balistoides viridescens

TITAN TRIGGERFISH

 


TROPICAL EASTERN PACIFIC

Sufflamen verres

ORANGESIDE TRIGGERFISH. Juvenile

 


ATLANTIC

Balistes vetula

QUEEN TRIGGERFISH