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Related FAQs: Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Selection 2, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Diseases, Triggerfish Health 2, Reproduction,

Related Articles: Triggerfishes, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Red SeaTriggers of the Cook Islands,

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

Rating the Triggerfishes of Indonesia

Bob Fenner

Xanthichthys auromarginatus

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Abalistes stellatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801), the Starry Triggerfish,  is offered most often out of the Indian Ocean, but it is even better out of the Red Sea. To a length of two feet overall. Aq. pic.
Anthony Gill There are actually two species recognised in the genus. The other, A. filamentosus, was described in 2004 by Matsuura and Yoshino. Here's an image from their paper - A. is A. filamentosus; B,C are A. stellatus.
/Joe Fish: https://reefs.com/2017/03/08/extremely-rare-hairfin-triggerfish-abalistes-filamentosus-collected/?fbclid=IwAR01qJ8qQnoh9eozDbqXMVuuerQ49BtCGbQBo63A1-HaR3i9QmzaKcPxihQ

The genus Balistapus: monotypic.

Balistapus undulatus (Park 1797), the Undulated  or Orange-Lined Triggerfish is both loved and vilified in our hobby. On the one hand it's a gorgeous species that is very hardy. On the other it can be a pure terror towards its tank-mates, eating or "sampling" them all to death. Don't despair if you have a penchant for keeping this fish. True, most Indo-Pacific ones are mean to a fault and must be kept only with like-mad-minded fishes, but do look for the more mellow Red Sea specimens if you can. These are much more peaceful toward other species. An Undulated Trigger in the Red Sea above, and a small individual ( three inches) in captivity, six inch specimens in French Polynesia and the Red Sea respectively below.

The genus Balistoides: two species.

The Clown Trigger, Balistoides conspicillum (Bloch & Schneider 1801), grows to sixteen or so inches. A two inch aquarium specimen and  maximum size individuals in the Maldives and N. Sulawesi shown. Get one small, and feed it sparingly... and keep your eye on it and your other livestock... this is an Alpha Alpha species that typically takes over a system of any size... and woe be to the tankmates that don't get and stay out of its way.
The Titan Trigger, Balistoides viridescens (Bloch & Schneider 1801), tops out at about two feet. Here much more subdued hiding under an Acroporid coral... much better than leaving its nest to come bite you! One on a nest, the other cruising in the Red Sea.

The genus Melichthys: three species.

Melichthys indicus (Randall & Klausewitz 1973), the Indian Triggerfish. Indian Ocean, Red Sea including east African coast. To ten inches in length. A good fish-only aquarium species. This one in the Maldives.

And the Pinktail Trigger, Melichthys vidua (Richardson 1845), is the other commonly offered member of the genus. Found throughout the Indo-Pacific. These are "medium" aggressive fish species that grow to about a foot in length in captivity, sixteen inches in the wild. Here are specimens in captivity and Hawai'i.

The genus Pseudobalistes: three species.

Yellow Fin, Margin or Face Triggerfish, Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus (Ruppell 1829). A beauty and peaceful for a triggerfish when small. To two feet. Indo-west Pacific, Red Sea to along Africa's eastern coast to Natal. Here is a one inch individual in the Maldives, an adult off or Pulau Redang, Malaysia, and a still larger one in N. Sulawesi.
The Blue Line Triggerfish ("Yellow-Spotted Triggerfish" to science), Pseudobalistes fuscus (Bloch & Schneider 1801). Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, east African coast to South Africa. To twenty two inches in length. Below  juveniles of four and eight inches in captivity and a full size adult in the Red Sea shown.

The genus Rhinecanthus: seven valid species.

Rhinecanthus cinereus (Bonnaterre 1788), Strickland's Triggerfish. Western Indian Ocean, Maldives, Andaman Sea and Mauritius.

No pic 

The Rectangle or Reef Triggerfish ("Wedge-Tail Triggerfish" to science), Rhinecanthus rectangulus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)shares the waters and common Humu name with the Picasso in Hawai'i. Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, east African coast. Shown here as a baby and adult in Hawai'i. To one foot in length.

The very similar Bursa ("Blackbelly" to science) Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus verrucosus (Linnaeus 1758), comes to us from out of the Philippines and Indonesia.

No pic

The genus Sufflamen: five species.

Most commonly offered are the Sickle, Lei or my favorite, Boomerang Triggerfish, Sufflamen bursa (Bloch & Schneider 1801), (mainly out of Hawai'i), an adult there shown and a smaller (four inch) individual in the Cooks.

More rarely, and very similar to the Whitetail, you may find the Indo-Pacific Halfmoon or Whitetip Trigger, Sufflamen chrysopterus (Bloch & Schneider 1801). Fiji juvenile of about two inch length and aquarium and Maldives and N. Sulawesi photographs. Note the discontinuous white border on the tail.

The genus Xanthichthys: five species.

Like the Blue Throat or Gilded Triggerfish, Xanthichthys auromarginatus (Bennett 1832), that are true reef dwellers. Here is a female and a male off of Maui, Hawai'i. Indo-west Pacific. To about a foot total length.

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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