Animal Species:Titan Triggerfish, Balistoides viridescens (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

The Titan Triggerfish is the largest species of triggerfish.  It can be aggressive when guarding its nest.

Standard Common Name

Titan Triggerfish

Alternative Name/s

Black-lipped Triggerfish, Blue-finned Triggerfish, Dotty Triggerfish and Giant Triggerfish.


The Titan Triggerfish has a heavily scaled head and body. There is a deep groove in front of both eyes and about five rows of spines on either side of the caudal peduncle.

The species is distinctively coloured. The scales have dark centres. There is a black region with yellow spots covering the eyes and extending to the pectoral fin bases. The dorsal and anal fins have black margins.

Size range

The Titan Triggerfish is the largest triggerfish species, growing to 75 cm in length.


This species occurs in the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from south-western to north-western Western Australia and from the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland south to the central coast of 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.

Balistoides viridescens

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Titan Triggerfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


The Titan Triggerfish usually occurs on coral reefs.

Feeding and Diet

The diet consists primarily of sea urchins, coral, crabs, molluscs and tube worms.

Other behaviours and adaptations

This fish can be aggressive when guarding its nest. Randall (1997) states that three divers were attacked by a Titan Triggerfish on one dive.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Matsuura, K. 2001. Balistidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.
  5. 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, Titan Triggerfish, Balistoides viridescens, Balistidae, black, grey, white, yellow, deep-bodied, 30 cm - 1 m, blotches/mottled, coral reef, marine, adult, largest,