The Gray Triggerfish

The Gray Triggerfish


October to June

Minimum size

38 cm

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The Gray triggerfish belongs to the Balistidae family. This fish can weigh up to 5.9 kg and reach a maximum length of about 76 cm. It has a lifespan of 16 years. It breeds from July to September. It can be fished all year round except during the breeding season.
The body of the gray triggerfish is laterally flattened, with a rough and tough skin and two dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin has three spines that can be locked in an upright position to serve as a predator defense and anchoring device. The first spine is very strong and is connected according to the second spine. When threatened, the pinfish dives into a narrow crevice, locks firmly and anchors itself in place by climbing up and locking the first one. When the second spine is pressed, it acts as a trigger that unlocks the first spine. The second dorsal fin is located directly in front of an almost identical anal fin. The dorsal fins are the main means of locomotion. They move in unison, propelling the fish into the water. The lobes of the caudal fin are elongated in large adults. The eyes of the grey triggerfish are located far from the mouth. The scales on the front half of the body are large and plate-shaped, while those on the back are smooth. There are one or more widened ladders located behind the opening of the gills. The small caps are located directly above the pectoral fins. The pectoral fin is short and rounded and the dorsal fins are separated. The juvenile grey triggerfish are yellowish with small purp

The Gray triggerfish lifestyle

Gray triggerfish eat mainly benthic invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, starfish, dolphins, sea cucumbers and bivalve mollusks.
When the water temperature reaches 21°C, the gray triggerfish build their nests on the lower substrate. The female lays between 50,000 and 100,000 eggs, in a hollow nest dug in the sand. Polygamous mating between males and females is largely random, with no long-term binding. Adult triggerfish protect the nest from potential predators, including divers, if they get too close to the nest. Eggs that survive predation hatch within 48 to 55 hours. After hatching, the juveniles leave the nest and move towards the water surface.

The Gray triggerfish habitat

The gray triggerfish is abundant in coastal and offshore areas as it prefers hard bottoms, reefs and ledges. This fish lives in bays, lagoons and reefs offshore to a depth of 55 m.
Gray triggerfish can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia (Canada), southeast to Bermuda, and south to Argentina, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. It is common in Florida's coastal waters.

The Gray triggerfish angling

It can be caught by line and spot.

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