Common name: Triggerfishes


Triggerfishes are widespread in shallow tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-west Pacific, mostly inhabiting shallow coral reefs in depths to 50 m. They are distinguished by the following combination of external characters: body deep, moderately compressed, encased in very thick, tough skin with large scales, those above pectoral-fin base often enlarged to form a flexible tympanum; mouth small and terminal, or almost terminal; teeth strong, eight in the outer series of both jaws; gill opening, a moderately short, vertical to oblique slit in front of pectoral-fin base; two dorsal fins, first dorsal fin with three visible spines, the second spine more than 1/2 length of first spine; first spine capable of being locked in an erect position by second spine; second dorsal and anal fin similar in shape; most dorsal-, anal-, and pectoral-fin rays branched; pelvic fins rudimentary, represented by a series of four pairs of enlarged scales encasingposterior end of pelvis (Matsuura 2001).

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Triggerfishes, BALISTIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,


Matsuura, K. 2001. Triacanthodidae, Triacanthidae, Balistidae, Ostraciidae, Aracanidae, Triodontidae, Tetraodontidae. In: Carpenter K & Niem V.H. (eds) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol 6. FAO, Rome, pp 3902-3928, 3948-3957

Matsuura, K. 2014. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period 1980 to 2014. Review for IPFC9 Special Issue. Ichthyological Research 62(1): 72-113. Open access DOI:10.1007/s10228-014-0444-5