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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Commonly found in subtidal reef flats and shallow protected lagoons, Ref. 48637. Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Juveniles secretive with rubble patches, adults swim about openly but are usually shy (Ref. 48637). Territorial. Feed on algae, detritus, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, sea urchins, fishes, corals, tunicates, forams, and eggs (Ref. 3921). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Sleep on its side; makes a whirring noise when alarmed (Ref. 4420). Also caught with drive-in nets and is considered a popular aquarium fish (Ref. 9770).
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Distribution

Indo-Pacific: Red Sea (Ref. 7348) south to South Africa (Ref. 4420) and east to the Hawaiian, Marquesan, and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island. Eastern Atlantic: Senegal to South Africa (Ref. 7348).
  • Matsuura, K. 2001 Balistidae. Triggerfishes. p. 3911-3928. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9770)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=9770&speccode=9 External link.
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Geographic Range

Considered to live in the Indo-Pacific region, reef triggerfish transverse a wide variety of marine areas from thirty degrees north to south in latitude (Michael 1998). Reef triggerfish extend from the Hawaiian islands southward to Polynesia and Australia, westward through Micronesia and Melanesia, through the East Indies including the Philippines, across the Indian Ocean, to the coast of Africa and the Red Sea. More specifically, reef triggerfish occupy the Red Sea south to South Africa, east to the Hawaiian, Marquesas, and Tuamotu Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island, Micronesia, and the Eastern Atlantic from Senegal to South Africa (Allen and Steen 1994).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native ); oceanic islands (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Eastern Atlantic: Senegal, South Africa; Indo-West Pacific: East Africa, South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mascarenes east to Pitcairn Group, north to southern Japan and Ogasawara Islands, south to Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 23 - 26; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 21 - 23
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Physical Description

A reef triggerfish is easily distinguished by its angular body, distinctive color pattern (resembling blocks of colors), fin arrangement, and characteristic dorsal spine. This forward spine on the dorsal fin lies slightly above and behind the eye. It is very strong and rigid, serving as defense adaptation. When this spine is raised, it often locks in this protective position, giving the triggerfish its name. Altogether, there are three dorsal spines, twenty-three to twenty-six dorsal softrays, twenty-one to twenty-three anal softrays, and no anal spines (Michael 1998). Considered to be sturdy and well-built, the reef triggerfish reaches a maximum length of thirty centimeters (Tinker 1982). It has a small but powerful jaw, equipped with sharp, cutting teeth. The eyes of a reef triggerfish are set atop the head, moving independently, so as to scan the reef for possible predators and prey (Hoover 1993).

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Size

Maximum size: 300 mm TL
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Max. size

30.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 4420))
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Commonly found in subtidal reef flats and shallow protected lagoons. Territorial. Feeds on algae, detritus, molluscs, crustaceans, worms, sea urchins, fishes, corals, tunicates, forams, and eggs. Also caught with drive-in nets and is considered a popular aquarium fish (Ref. 9770).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 50 m (Ref. 7348)
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The reef triggerfish is generally found in shallow outer reef habitats. Swimming along the bottom in search of food items, it is found on surge-swept basalt reefs. The reef triggerfish is commonly found in subtidal reef flats and protected lagoons (Hoover 1993). This marine fish usually occupies water with salinity levels ranging from 1.020 to 1.023, and water temperatures from seventy-seven to eighty degrees Fahrenheit (Tinker 1982).

Aquatic Biomes: reef ; coastal

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Depth range based on 33 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 25 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.15 - 19
  Temperature range (°C): 24.659 - 29.336
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.016 - 2.714
  Salinity (PPS): 34.080 - 36.148
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.454 - 4.825
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.087 - 0.507
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.073 - 4.612

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0.15 - 19

Temperature range (°C): 24.659 - 29.336

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.016 - 2.714

Salinity (PPS): 34.080 - 36.148

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.454 - 4.825

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.087 - 0.507

Silicate (umol/l): 1.073 - 4.612
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 50m.
Recorded at 50 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated. Blackbar triggerfish.  (Linnaeus, 1758) Attains 30 cm. One of the most striking triggerfishes. The main colour features are a number of diagonal bluish-white bars on the rear of the lower body; a distinctive yellow "bridle" pattern extending from mouth to below pectoral base and enclosing a blue line at base of upper lip. Three horizontal rows of black forward curving spines on caudal peduncle, the upper two rows longer than the lower row. Caudal fin slightly rounded to double emarginate. Body white with large blackish area over much of the side of the body containing four diagonal bluish white bands from midside to anal fin. Four blue lines across interorbital and three from eye to pectoral base. Inhabits reef flats and shallow lagoons over sandy areas with rubble in 1 - 20 metres. Very territorial and when breeding defends its 'nest' on the sand very aggressively. Mostly solitary tending to dart into a crevice or hole when approached. Sleeps on its side at night and makes a whirring noise when startled. Omnivorous; feeds on algae, detritus, molluscs, worms heart urchins, corals, tunicates, foraminifera and small fishes. Indo-Pacific south to Algoa Bay in South Africa.
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Trophic Strategy

Commonly found in subtidal reef flats and shallow protected lagoons. Territorial. Feed on algae, detritus, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, sea urchins, fishes, corals, tunicates, forams, and eggs (Ref. 3921). Also caught with drive-in nets and is considered a popular aquarium fish (Ref. 9770).
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Food Habits

The reef triggerfish diet consists mainly of reef invertebrates and algae. Common food items are small crustaceans, worms, brittlestars, sea urchins, and snails. Less common dietary supplements are other fishes, corals, tunicates, forams, and eggs. Highly versatile in its feeding possibilities, the reef triggerfish will feed on a wide variety of crustaceans, molluscs, and fish. Reef triggerfish obtain their food primarily by rooting through sand or rocks (Animal World 2000; Tinker 1982).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Distinct pairing (Ref. 205).
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Reproduction

Like most fishes, the reef triggerfish undergoes heterosexual reproduction, in which there are separate male and female parents. Reef fishes are egg-layers, and the eggs are externally fertilized by the male parent. Nests are built by the female parent, in which the eggs are fertilized and cared for until they hatch. The newly-hatched young are also looked after by the female parent (Hoover 1993).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rhinecanthus aculeatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 13 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACACGTTGACTTTTCTCAACCAACCATAAAGATATCGGCACCCTATACCTAATTTTCGGTGCTTGAGCTGGGATAGTAGGCACAGCCTTA---AGCTTGCTAATCCGGGCAGAACTGAGCCAACCCGGCGCTCTCTTAGGCGAT---GACCAGATTTACAATGTCATCGTTACAGCACATGCTTTCGTTATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCAATCATAATTGGTGGTTTCGGAAACTGACTAATCCCATTAATG---ATCGGAGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCCCGAATGAACAACATGAGCTTCTGACTTCTACCGCCTTCACTTCTACTTCTTCTTGCCTCCTCAAGCGTAGAAGCCGGTGCTGGAACCGGATGAACAGTGTACCCCCCTCTCGCAGGCAACCTGGCCCACGCGGGGGCCTCTGTTGACCTC---ACTATCTTCTCACTCCACTTGGCAGGTATCTCATCAATTCTAGGGGCTATTAATTTTATCACAACAATTATTAATATGAAACCCCCCGCCATTTCTCAATACCAAACACCCCTGTTTGTTTGAGCAGTTCTGATTACAGCAGTCCTTCTCCTCTTATCTCTCCCAGTCCTAGCTGCT---GGAATTACAATACTACTAACTGATCGAAATTTAAACACCACATTCTTCGACCCTGCTGGAGGTGGGGACCCGATCCTTTATCAACACTTATTTTGATTCTTCGGCCACCCAGAAGTATACATTCTCATTCTCCCCGGCTTCGGAATAATTTCCCACATCGTTGCCTACTACTCAGGTAAAAAA---GAACCTTTCGGCTATATGGGAATGGTCTGAGCTATGATGGCCATTGGACTCCTTGGCTTCATTGTTTGAGCCCATCACATGTTTACCGTTGGAATGGATGTTGACACCCGAGCCTACTTCACCTCAGCCACAATAATTATCGCCATTCCAACTGGAGTAAAAGTATTTAGCTGACTA---GCCACGCTGCACGGAGGC---GCAATTAAATGAGAAACTCCGCTCTTATGAGCCCTAGGGTTCATTTTCTTATTTACAGTAGGAGGACTGACAGGTATTGTTCTTGCAAACTCGTCACTTGATATTGTGCTTCACGACACATACTACGTAGTAGCCCACTTCCACTATGTA---CTCTCCATAGGAGCTGTCTTTGCCATTGTTGCTGCCTTTGTTCACTGATTCCCACTATTTTCCGGCTACACCCTGCACGACACATGAACAAAAATCCATTTCGGAGTGATGTTTGTGGGTGTTAATCTCACATTCTTCCCACAACACTTCCTGGGCTTAGCCGGAATGCCTCGA---CGTTACTCAGATTACCCCGATGCCTACACA---CTATGAAATACAGTATCTTCAATCGGGTCTCTAGTATCCCTAGTAGCAGTCATCCTGTTCCTATTTATTATTTGAGAAGCATTCGCAGCTAAACGAGAAGTT---CTATCCGTAGAACTCACATCAACAAAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 13
Specimens with Barcodes: 31
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Currently abundant in many marine environments, the reef triggerfish is not presently at risk. However, major alterations are occurring in many of these habitats, carrying the potential to greatly reduce their numbers. In additon to tropical fish collectors, human population growth and the factors that accompany it pose threats to reef triggerfish, as well as other marine fishes and organisms. Though currently not at risk, other organisms in many of the reef triggerfish's habitats are being greatly reduced by abiotic factors (Dresie 1999).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial; price category: medium; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Caught with drive-in nets, reef triggerfish satisfy minor commercial fisheries purposes, but have a high commercial value for aqauriums. Reef triggerfish are considered good aquarium fish, as they are hardy and easy to keep and maintain. The ability of the fish to feed upon a wide variety of items, from live to frozen and flake foods, makes it very marketable among aquariums. With no special requirements for temperature or light conditions, the reef triggerfish is relatively versatile in its ability to adapt to environmental conditions. As it is easily caught and therefore readily available for purchase, the reef triggerfish is popular, also due to its unusual markings and vibrant color (Waikiki Aquarium Education Department 1999). The reef triggerfish also has a good disposition relative to other kinds of triggerfish. The reef triggerfish is not currently highly valued as a commercial food item for the majority of the human population. However, early Hawaiians ate it infrequently. The fish was also dried and utilized as a cooking fuel by early Hawaiians when other sources of fuel were in short supply. More importantly, the reef triggerfish was used further as a substitute for pigs for some religious ceremonies (Hoover 1993).

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Wikipedia

Lagoon triggerfish

The lagoon triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), also known as the blackbar triggerfish, the Picasso triggerfish, the Picassofish, and the Jamal, is a triggerfish, up to 30 cm in length, found on reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Hawaiian name for the fish, humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (pronounced [ˈhumuˈhumuˈnukuˈnukuˈwaːpuˈwɐʔə]), also spelled humuhumu-nukunuku-a-puaʻa or just humuhumu for short (meaning "triggerfish with a snout like a pig"[1]) shares the same name with the reef triggerfish, the state fish of Hawaii.

This species has been studied in a range of research contexts, from locomotion to colour vision research.

Behavior[edit]

Lagoon triggerfish live in the reefs and sandy areas of coral reefs where it eats just about everything that comes along. They are always restlessly swimming around and can vigorously protect their territory against intruders, including divers, especially when guarding their eggs during reproduction season. Fortunately, their relative small size makes them much less dangerous than the larger titan triggerfish of the same family.

Mating and reproduction[edit]

Both sexes guard territories, some maintaining a territory for eight years or longer (males holding territories for significantly longer than females). A typical male territory may overlap with one to five female territories, and their mating system is described as haremic, although not much is known about this (similar mating systems are seen in other Balistidae species). If a male or female is removed or disappears their territories are soon taken over by a new fish. They reproduce repeatedly over their lifetimes.[2]

Pair-spawning takes place around sunrise, with the egg masses being attached to sand, coral rubble or algae. They hatch the same day around sunset. Although paternal care is normal in teleost fishes with external fertilization, it is the mothers in this species that guard and care for eggs until they hatch. The mother remains above the eggs for about 12–14 hours, fanning the eggs with her pectoral fins to improve aeration for perhaps 30% of the time. She chases away most fish that approach and remove other intruders like starfish by mouth. Maternal care is effective in preventing predation, and experimental removal of the mothers reduced survival to almost nothing suggesting this behaviour is adaptive. Unlike fathers, mothers forage less and over a smaller area near the egg mass while caring for the eggs. Since the males have multiple mates, caring for an egg mass would probably be more costly in terms of lost mating opportunities so maternal care is considered to be an evolutionarily stable strategy.[2]

Vision[edit]

This species has one type of single cone (SC), with visual pigment peaking in sensitivity at 413 nm (S),[3] and a double cone with different visual pigments in each member peaking at 480 nm (M) and 530 nm (L) respectively.[4] Behavioural research has provided evidence that individual members of the double cones can act as independent channels of colour information, aiding in understanding double cone function.[5] This research suggests the species has trichromatic vision, like humans.

References[edit]

  1. ^ humuhumunukunukuapuaa. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  2. ^ a b Kuwamura, T. (1997). "Evolution of Female Egg Care in Haremic Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus". Ethology 103 (12): 1015–1023. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1997.tb00143.x. 
  3. ^ S = short wavelength, M = middle wavelength, L = long wavelength
  4. ^ Marshall, J.; Jennings, K., Goldizen, A. & Vorobyev, M. (2004). "Colour vision in reef fish". Vision down under. Brisbane, Australia: Fraser Island. 
  5. ^ Pignatelli, V.; Champ, C.; Marshall, J.; Vorobyev, M. (2010). "Double cones are used for colour discrimination in the reef fish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus". Biology Letters (The Royal Society) 6 (4): 537–539. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.1010. 
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