Information On Triggerfish


Triggerfish Information
Long horn cowfish

Long Horn cowfish (Lactoria cornuta)

Triggerfish an their allies (order Tetraodontiformes) are one of theee most specialized groups of the teleost fishes. The order contains approximately 500 species that are exceptionally diverse in structure, shape, size, and way of life.

The distinguishing features of tetradontiformes are a small mouth with either relatively few teeth that are often enlarged or massive beak-like tooth plates; a small gill opening restricted to the side of the head; and a low numbere of vertebrae They also have some sort of modified or enlarged scales that form some sort of protective covering over the body. Most species are bottom dwellers living in the coastal waters of temperate to tropical seas at depths of less than 600 feet.

Red Sea triggerfish (Pseudobalistes fuscus)

Triggerfishes (family Balistidae) and their more specialized relatives, the filefishes or leatherjackets (Monacanthidae), are common in shallow tropical and temperate seas throughout the world.

Both families are unique in having a ball and socket mechanism by which the second spine in the dorsal fin can lock the large fin in an erect position (hence the name "triggerfish".

Also restricted to these families is a shaft-like pelvic bone at the end of which is a sheath of specialized articulated scales. The skin between the pelvis and the anus can be stretched and the pelvis can be rotated downward to flare out a loose piece of skin (dewlap). This increases the size of the body so as to discourage predators.

Triggerfishes use their incisor-like teeth to feed on mollusks, echinoderms, and crustaceans. They can use sources of food unavailable to other fishes, like the sea urchis, which they turn over with their snouts to expose the unprotected underside.

Filefish (Rudarius minutus)

Filefishes have more delicate incisor-like teeth than do triggerfishes and usually eat small invertebrates.

Filefishes are more diversified than triggerfishes in shape, habitat, and way of life.

Some species of Rudarius are as small as one inch at maturity, while Aluterus scriptus reaches a length of about 1 1/2 feet.


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