Titan triggerfish

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Titan triggerfish
Titan triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens).jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Family: Balistidae
Genus: Balistoides
B. viridescens
Binomial name
Balistoides viridescens

The titan triggerfish, giant triggerfish or moustache triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) is a large species of triggerfish found in lagoons and at reefs to depths of 50 m (160 ft) in most of the Indo-Pacific, though it is absent from Hawaii. With a length of up to 75 centimetres (30 in), [2] it is the largest species of triggerfish in its range (the stone triggerfish, Pseudobalistes naufragium, from the east Pacific is larger). [3]



Titan triggerfish with orange-lined triggerfish and moorish idols at the reef of Fihalhohi, Maldives. Titan Triggerfish.jpg
Titan triggerfish with orange-lined triggerfish and moorish idols at the reef of Fihalhohi, Maldives.

The titan triggerfish is diurnal and solitary. It feeds on sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans, tube worms and coral. [2] It often feeds by turning over rocks, stirring up sand and biting off pieces of branching coral. This is why other smaller fish species are often seen around it, as they feed on the detritus and smaller organisms that are stirred up.

Titan triggerfish have been observed being aggressive to other fish who enter their territory.

Interaction with humans

Though titan triggerfish are usually wary of divers and snorkelers, females can be territorial and aggressive around their nests during the reproduction season, which occurs for about a week in each month (either after the full moon or new moon, depending on the population). [4]

The nest is placed in a flat sandy area, and is defended vigorously against any intruders. The territory around the nest is roughly cone-shaped and divers who accidentally enter it may be attacked. Divers should swim horizontally away from the nest rather than upwards which would only take them further into the territory. [5] [6] Although bites are not venomous, the strong teeth can inflict serious injury that may require medical attention. [5] [6] [7] [8]

The threat posture includes the triggerfish facing the intruder while holding its first dorsal spine erect. [5] It may also roll onto its side, allowing it a better look at the intruder it perceives as threatening its nest. The titan triggerfish will not always bite, but can swim at snorkellers and divers escorting them out of their territory.

The flesh of the titan triggerfish is sometimes ciguatoxic. [5] [7]

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clown triggerfish</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yellowmargin triggerfish</span> Species of fish

The yellowmargin triggerfish, pineapple trigger, yellowface triggerfish or yellow-face triggerfish is a marine fish in the family Balistidae. It is found in coastal tropical waters and reefs of the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea south to Natal, South Africa and east from southern Japan south to Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa, at water depths from 2–50 m (6.6–164.0 ft).

<i>Pseudobalistes fuscus</i> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lagoon triggerfish</span> A triggerfish found on reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reef triggerfish</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ocellaris clownfish</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal gramma</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orange-lined triggerfish</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snowflake moray</span> Species of fish

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Although most species in the Red Sea pose no threat to humans, there are a few notable exceptions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pyramid butterflyfish</span> Species of fish

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<i>Dascyllus albisella</i> Species of fish

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<i>Cephalopholis argus</i> Species of fish

Cephalopholis argus, the peacock hind, roi, bluespotted grouper, and celestial grouper, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a member of the subfamily Epinephelinae, the groupers, and part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. They come from the Indo-Pacific which is variously a commercial gamefish, an invasive species, and occasionally an aquarium resident. Its species name comes from its resemblance to the "hundred staring eyes" of the monster Argus who had a hundred eyes and was the shepherd of the godess Hera in Greek mythology.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coral reef fish</span> Fish which live amongst or in close relation to coral reefs

Coral reef fish are fish which live amongst or in close relation to coral reefs. Coral reefs form complex ecosystems with tremendous biodiversity. Among the myriad inhabitants, the fish stand out as colourful and interesting to watch. Hundreds of species can exist in a small area of a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged. Reef fish have developed many ingenious specialisations adapted to survival on the reefs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bluestriped fangblenny</span> Species of fish

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stone triggerfish</span> Species of fish

The stone triggerfish is the largest species of triggerfish.

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Balistoides is a genus of triggerfishes native to the Indo-Pacific region.

<i>Canthidermis maculata</i> Species of fish

Canthidermis maculata, also known as rough triggerfish or spotted oceanic triggerfish, is a species of triggerfish native to the tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. Unlike most triggerfish, they are mostly pelagic.

<i>Calotomus carolinus</i> Species of fish

Calotomus carolinus, commonly known as Carolines parrotfish, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a parrotfish, in the family Scaridae. It is also known as the starry-eye parrotfish, stareye parrotfish, bucktooth parrotfish, Christmas parrotfish or marbled parrotfish. Since the Calotomus carolinus is known across the Pacific, it also has its own name in many native languages for example, it is called a panuhunuhunu in the Hawaiian language.


  1. Matsuura, K. 2022 (2022). "Balistoides viridescens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2022: e.T193639A2251503. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-2.RLTS.T193639A2251503.en . Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  2. 1 2 Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2010). "Balistoides viridescens" in FishBase . 1 2010 version.
  3. Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2010). "Pseudobalistes naufragium" in FishBase . 1 2010 version.
  4. Donaldson, T.J.; Dimalanta, A.G. (2011). "Spatial Distribution and Characterization of the Triggerfish Balistoides viridescens (Balistidae) on a Spawning Aggregation Site at Guam, Mariana Islands". Proceedings of the 64th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Randall, J. E. (2005). Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN   0-8248-2698-1.[ page needed ]
  6. 1 2 Randall, J. E.; Millington, J. T. (1 May 1990). "Triggerfish bite – a little-known marine hazard". Journal of Wilderness Medicine. 1 (2): 79–85. doi:10.1580/0953-9859-1.2.79.
  7. 1 2 Lieske, E., & R. Myers (1999). Coral Reef Fishes. 2nd edition. Princeton University Press. ISBN   0-691-00481-1 [ page needed ]
  8. Debelius, H. (1993). Indian Ocean Tropical Fish Guide. Aquaprint Verlags GmbH. ISBN   3-927991-01-5 [ page needed ]