Redtooth Triggerfish Click to enlarge image
A Redtooth Triggerfish at a depth of 16m, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef off Cooktown, Queensland, December 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    niger
    Genus
    Odonus
    Family
    Balistidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 40 cm in length.

Introduction

The Redtooth Triggerfish is coloured blue to purplish with a light blue head. It is found on coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific.

Identification

The Redtooth Triggerfish is blue to purplish with a light blue head. All median fins have light blue posterior margins. The anterior portions of the second dorsal and anal fins are elevated. The caudal fin is lunate, with long lobes in adults. There are rows of small spines on the posterior sides of the body. The upturned mouth has two long red teeth in the upper jaw. These are visible when the mouth is closed.


Redtooth Triggerfish, Odonus niger
One of the really beautiful fishes collected at the Reef Islands was the Redtooth Triggerfish, Odonus niger. This species is recognised by its red teeth, blue to purple-blue background colour, blue margins to the second dorsal, anal and caudal fins, elevated anterior portion of the second dorsal and anal fins, lunate tail shape with long lobes in adults and about seven rows of spines mostly on the posterior half of the body. Image: Jeff Williams
© Jeff Williams/USNM

Habitat

Sometimes this fish is seen in large numbers swimming well off the bottom on steep outer reef slopes.

Distribution

The Redtooth Triggerfish occurs on coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is known from the offshore reefs of north-western Western Australia and from the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef.

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

It eats mainly zooplankton.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. 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.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.