Hawaiian Triggerfish, <i>Rhinecanthus aculeatus<i/> Click to enlarge image
An Hawaiian Triggerfish at Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, June 2009. Image: John Pogonoski
© John Pogonoski

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    aculeatus
    Genus
    Rhinecanthus
    Family
    Balistidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    25 cm

Introduction

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

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.

Habitat

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

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.



Feeding and diet

The species feeds on algae, detritus and invertebrates.

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.