Clown Triggerfish

Balistoides conspicillum

Clown triggerfish , also known as the bigspotted triggerfish, are demersal marine fish belonging to the family Balistidae, or commonly called triggerfish.
Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides_conspicillum) Dauin, Oct 2, 2012
Is a triggerfish from the order Tetraodontiformes. The fish can reach up to about 50 cm (20 in) in length. It has strong jaws which are used to crush and eat sea urchins, crustaceans and hard-shelled mollusks. This fish has unique coloration. The ventral surface has large, white spots on a dark background, and its dorsal surface has black spots on yellow. There is a vertical, white (slightly yellow) stripe on the caudal fin. The brightly painted yellow mouth may be used to deter potential predators. This fish has a form of camouflage that is, or is similar to, countershading. From below, the white spots look like the surface of the water above it. From above, the fish will blend in more with the coral reef environment.
Habitat:

This species is a primarily marine species, and is found in tropical Indo-Pacific coastal waters from 1-75 metres in depth (3-250 ft). This fish is generally uncommon or rare throughout its range, which includes East Africa to South Africa, through to Indonesia, and all the way to Japan and New Caledonia. The clown triggerfish is most commonly found around coral reefs. It lives in clear coastal to outer reef habitats. Juveniles are rarely seen because they shelter in caves and crevices below 25m.

 Balistoides conspicillum,Clown Triggerfish,Geotagged,Philippines

Appearance

The clown triggerfish is a small sized fish which grows up to 50 cm. Its body has a stock appearance, oval shape and compressed laterally.
The head is large and represents approximately one third of the body length.
The mouth is small, terminal and has strong teeth.

The first dorsal fin is composed of three spines, one of which is longer and stronger. It is erectile and hidden in a dorsal furrow.
This set of dorsal spines composed a trigger system which is a characteristic from the family Balistidae.
The second dorsal fin is similar in shape and size to the anal fin which is symmetrically opposed to it.
The pelvic fin is reduced to a ventral protrusion.

The background coloration is black. Half of inferior part of the body is marked with big white spots which are more or less round.
The area around the first dorsal fin is crossed by yellowish sinuosities which draw like a network reminding the leopard's patterns.
There is a yellowish ring around the mouth, which is surrounded by another fin white ring.
A white stripe ride the snout just under the eyes level.
The second dorsal fin and the anal fin are white and underlined with a yellow line at their base.
The caudal peduncle has a yellowish blotch on its top part and has three horizontal sets of spiny scales.
The caudal fin is yellowish in its center and has black margin.
Juveniles have a black background coloration spangled with small white spots, the extremity of the snout and the base of the first dorsal fin is yellowish.
Clown Triggerfish - Balistoides conspicillum Black undercolour with large white spots on lower body; orange lips, yellowish band across top of snout, pale patch with dark spots on back. Mostly solitary. Balistoides conspicillum,Clown Triggerfish,Geotagged,Maldives,Male,Triggerfish,Winter

Distribution

The clown triggerfish is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean until the western Pacific Ocean.
It is most commonly found along external reef slopes with clear water until 75 m depth.
Juveniles are usually staying below 20 m sheltered close to caves or overhangs.

Behavior

This triggerfish has a diurnal activity, is solitary and defends a territory. It can be very aggressive with other fish and congeners. The first long dorsal spine when is erected, it is used to impress an opponent or to avoid a predator to pull it out of its refuge.

Habitat

The clown triggerfish is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean until the western Pacific Ocean.
It is most commonly found along external reef slopes with clear water until 75 m depth.
Juveniles are usually staying below 20 m sheltered close to caves or overhangs.

Food

''Balistoides conspicillum'' has a varied diet based on different benthic organisms like molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderTetraodontiformes
FamilyBalistidae
GenusBalistoides
SpeciesB. conspicillum