Ryan Photographic - Balistidae - Triggerfishes


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Family Balistidae

The common English name for the family Balistidae is triggerfishes. The name stems from their possession of rigid dorsal spines which they can lock into position (the second locks the first in place). This makes eating them, or dislodging them from a crevice both difficult and dangerous. Triggerfishes seem totally aware that they are essentially invulnerable and are conspicuous in many inshore marine environments. With a couple of significant exceptions they tend leave humans alone. One exception is the titan triggerfish which will defend nest sites vigorously. A titan trigger apparently removed a diver's ear in Thailand. I watched, with great amusement, as a titan attacked my dive buddy Dave Herrick. He had to beat the fish off with his camera housing and make an undignified retreat. A lateral retreat is encouraged as the fish will protect a cone extending from their nest towards the surface.

Most triggerfish feed on hard-shelled invertebrates but some, such as Melichthys, are algal feeders. Others eat zooplankton. Large schools of Odonus niger can often be seen when the tide is running, as they feed on small planktonic creatures.

According to FishBase there 40 species in 11 genera.

 

Balistapus undulatus Orange-lined triggerfish

Balistapus undulatus Orange-lined triggerfish, Fiji

Balistes polylepis Finescale triggerfish

Finescale triggerfish photo

FISH 4986 Balistes polylepis Finescale triggerfish, Loreto, Sea of Cortez.

Balistes vetula Queen triggerfish

Balistes vetula, Queen triggerfish

FISH 3155 Balistes vetula, Queen triggerfish, Glover's Reef, Belize.

Balistes vetula, Queen triggerfish (Balistidae)

FISH 3156 Balistes vetula, Queen triggerfish, Glover's Reef, Belize.

Balistoides conspicillum Clown triggerfish

Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish and cleaner wrasse, Raja Ampat

FISH 6995 Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

FISH 2925 Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Balistoides conspicillum Clown triggerfish, Matamanoa, Fiji

Clown trigger

FISH 8606 Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat.

Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat

FISH 8610 Balistoides conspicillum, Clown triggerfish, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat - good front cover!

Balistoides viridescens Titan triggerfish

Balistoides viridescens Titan triggerfish, Matamanoa, Fiji

Melichthys vidua Pinktail triggerfish

Melichthys vidua Pinktail triggerfish, Fijian color variant, Kadavu, Fiji, 2007.

Odonus niger Redtooth triggerfish

rtedtooth triggerfish

FISH 0563 Odonus niger Redtooth triggerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua.

redtooth triggerfish

FISH 2778 Odonus niger Redtooth triggerfish, Raja Ampat, West Papua

Odonus niger Redtooth triggerfish Puerto Galera, Philippines .

FISH 7343 Odonus niger Redtooth triggerfish Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus Yellowmargin triggerfish

Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus Yellowmargin triggerfish holding coral rubble in mouth, Kadavu, Fiji

Sufflamen bursa Scythe triggerfish

scythe triggerfish photo
FISH 6350 Sufflamen bursa, Scythe triggerfish, Kona, Hawaii.
Sufflamen bursa Scythe triggerfish, Kadavu, Fiji

Sufflamen chrysopterus Halfmoon triggerfish

Sufflamen chrysopterum (aka chrysoptera, chrysopterus). Fijian morph photographed at Matamanoa.
Sufflamen chrysopterus Flagtail triggerfish juvenile Raja Ampat

FISH 0854 Sufflamen chrysopterus Flagtail triggerfish juvenile Raja Ampat.

Xanthichthys auromarginatus, Gilded triggerfish

Gilded triggerfish photo

FISH 6153 Xanthichthys auromarginatus, Gilded triggerfish male, Kona, Hawaii.

Xanthichthys mento Crosshatch triggerfish

Xanthichthys mento Crosshatch triggerfish

FISH 9066 Xanthichthys mento Crosshatch triggerfish, Isla Benedicto, Mexico.

Crosshatch triggerfish

FISH 9076 Xanthichthys mento Crosshatch triggerfish, Isla Benedicto, Mexico

 

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