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Trigger fish

Scientific name: Balistes carolinensis

The trigger fish receives this name from the needle it has on its back. This may be locked and remain stiff thanks to a bone protrusion in the second, smaller, needle. The first dorsal fin is transformed into needles and the second dorsal and the anal fins are almost the same, in the shape of a triangle. The caudal fin has the shape of a half-moon. Its body is oval, high and flat on the sides. Its mouth is small and with very strong teeth, and with thick, fleshy lips. Its skin is very hard and rough, grey.
Its maximum size is 60 cm.

The trigger fish is a solitary fish. They are not good swimmers and move with undulating movements of the dorsal and anal fins, while the caudal fin is reserved for emergency sprints. When it is in danger, the trigger fish can get in a crack and raise its first needle to be blocked inside and not be able to be got out. When it fights, this rigid needle can seriously injure its adversary.
Its teeth are strong and stand out, and are ideal for eating invertebrates with a shell and sea urchins (which they eat with their needles).
Its reproduction is oviparous and they lay their eggs in the summer in nests made by the couple itself.

It lives on rocky beds at a depth of up to 100 m.

Species not evaluated (according to the red list of threatened species).

Did you know that trigger fish give out sounds similar to those of a pig, and therefore in some places are known as pig fish?


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