Ocean Triggerfish Identification

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Ocean triggerfish, sometimes called tallies, have the same body shape and swimming style as other triggerfish. Learn about the oval-shaped body and long dorsal fins of the ocean triggerfish with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine creature we're going to identify now is the ocean triggerfish. Ocean triggerfish are also sometimes called tallies. They have the same body shape and swimming style as the other triggerfish, such as the queen and sargassum triggerfishes. This means they have an oval shaped body, and long dorsal and anal fins which are their primary mode of locomotion through the water column. Their bodies are generally a uniform gray color with the only variation being a dark patch at the base of their pectoral fin. Ocean triggerfish are usually found along the edge of deep-water drop offs. Their depth range is generally thirty five to a hundred feet, so they will rarely be seen by snorkelers, but can be observed by scuba divers, especially along the edge of underwater drop offs. They often travel alone. They can be seen from time to time in small groups. Their habitat range is from the cold waters of Massachusetts all the way down to the coast of Brazil, but the local distribution is highly variable. For example, they are relatively uncommon in the waters around my home in The Turks and Caicos. Ocean triggerfish have a small mouth relative to the size of their head. They feed primarily on large zoo plankton, but they also may feed on small crustaceans, cnidarians, such as jellyfish. Ocean triggerfish can be quite large; up to two feet long, but most are in the ten to eighteen inch range. They are generally a shy fish, and usually depart quickly if a diver tries to approach them. Ocean triggerfish are egg laying fish. The female builds a circular nest in the sand by blowing water out of her mouth into the sand. Once the shallow nest is dug she lays her eggs, and the male swims over the nest to fertilize them. Ocean triggerfish then guard their nest, and can be quite aggressive when doing so. They have even been known to charge divers who swim too close to their nest. That's the ocean triggerfish.


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