Creature Feature – Clown Triggerfish

This week’s featured creature is the Clown Triggerfish.

A colourful fish to encounter during a dive, the name triggerfish comes from the locking characteristic of the dorsal fin that all species posses. The first dorsal-fin spine is large and strong and provides these fishes with some protection from predation. When it is standing upright, it is locked in place by the second spine. The first spine can only be lowered after the second is pulled back, like a trigger.

Clown Triggerfish


Scientific Name: Balistoides conspicillum

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Balistidae

Genus: Balistoides

Clown Triggerfish Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach lengths of 50cm and weigh up to 400g

? Distribution: This species is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean

? Diet: Their diet comprises a wide variety of species of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms (such as sea stars) as well as corals and marine algae

? Behaviour: The clown triggerfish is a solitary fish that lives in groups only during reproduction. Here, they are territorial. They are diurnal in nature and are highly active all day

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. Top threats include harvesting (for the aquarium trade) and climate change