Kwajalein Triggerfish (Balistidae)

There are about 14 species of triggerfish (family Balistidae) that divers are likely to see on the reefs around Kwajalein. As adults, all are medium-sized to large fish with small mouths but strong jaws capable of breaking coral or crushing shells. Most seem to eat benthic invertebrates, but a few subsist at least partially from plankton. Most species will dive into holes in the reef when threatened, erecting a stout, thick dorsal spine to wedge themselves in. They also tend to have thick, tough skin that probably helps protect them from getting scratched up when they dive into holes and may even deter predation in some cases.


Balistapus undulatus


Balistoides conspicillum

Balistoides viridescens

Melichthys niger

Melichthys vidua

Odonus niger

Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus

Pseudobalistes fuscus

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Rhinecanthus rectangulus

Sufflamen bursa

Sufflamen chrysopterum

Sufflamen fraenatum

Xanthichthys auromarginatus

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