Animal Species:Hawaiian Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Despite its standard name, the Hawaiian Triggerfish has a tropical Indo-Pacific distribution.

Hawaiian Triggerfish at Lady Elliot Island

John Pogonoski © John Pogonoski

Standard Common Name

Hawaiian Triggerfish

Alternative Name/s

Blackbar Triggerfish, Whitebanded Triggerfish, White-barred Triggerfish, Lagoon Triggerfish

Identification

The species can be recognised by its distinctive colouration.  It is largely whitish with a dark region midlaterally.  There are four white-blue stripes descending from the side of the body to that anal fin.  Four blue lines cross between the eyes and there are three blue lines between the eyes and the pectoral fin bases.  A yellow line enclosing a blue 'moustache' runs between the mouth and the pectoral fin base.

Size range

25 cm

Distribution

The Hawaiian Triggerfish occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific region.  In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia to the offshore islands of north-western Western Australia.  It also occurs from the northern Great Barrier Reef south to Sydney, New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Hawaiian Triggerfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

Coral reefs, often in lagoon areas.  In more temperate waters, the species occurs on rocky reefs.

Feeding and Diet

The species feeds on algae, detritus and invertebrates.

Classification

Species:
aculeatus
Genus:
Rhinecanthus
Family:
Balistidae
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Hawaiian Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus aculeatus, Balistidae, white, black, blue, yellow, grey, odd-shaped, 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes or bands, rocky reef, coral reef, marine, adult,