IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

The queen triggerfish is often found drifting close to the bottom, where it feeds on a range of molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms (4). The strong jaws and long teeth of this fish enable it to bite through the hard body parts of these marine creatures with ease (4). It specialises on feeding on a particular sea urchin (Diadema antillarium), and has evolved an ingenious way of tackling this spiny prey; it blows water under the sea urchin to overturn it, exposing the part of the sea urchin where the spines are shortest (2). Little information is available on the breeding biology of this species, although it is known that triggerfish lay eggs which stick to corals, rocks and algae (4). The eggs are somewhat protected by being camouflaged (4), and are also apparently guarded by the male (2). As adults, queen triggerfish are protected by the erectile spine on their backs. If threatened, the triggerfish will retreat into a crevice in the reef, the spine on its back locks into position, and the predator is unable to remove the fish from its shelter (4).

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Source: ARKive

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