Triggerfish are a known by divers and fishermen alike for their vibrant colors and unique stripes and spots. There are roughly 40 different species can be found in both tropical and subtropical oceans.
Trigger fish get their name from their sharp dorsal spines. When threatened, they can erect the two spines that support the dorsal fin. The first spine is locked in place by erecting the second spine. The one spine “triggers” the locking mechanism of the larger spine. Hence the name “trigger fish”.
Their sharp teeth are used to crush shells and hurt if they bite! Crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins and other echinoderms make up much of their diet. Their skin is like leather, covered with rough scales that create an armor against their predators. Even the gill plates on a trigger fish are heavily protected by the thick skin! The meat is delicious but be careful. With one triggerfish, you can easily dull the blade of your fillet knife.
For a fish, triggers have quiet the personality. They are known to be highly intelligent and learn from previous experiences. They are terribly grumpy, ill-tempered and can be aggressive if you get too close to their home.
The anal and posterior dorsal fin “undulate” (move from side to side) and create enough movement to propel the fish forward. The tail is usually only used when a trigger moves quickly to escape danger.