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any of several species of tropical reef fishes with laterally compressed bodies, heavy scales, and tough skins. They are named for the mechanism of the three spines of the dorsal fin: when the fish is alarmed the first of these spines is locked upright by the second and drops only when the latter is pressed like a trigger. The function of this reaction is to lock the fish firmly in a mass of coral; when attacked, the fish dives into the coral and erects the spine, releasing it only when the danger has passed. Triggerfishes have powerful, chisellike teeth adapted for cracking the coral and mollusks on which they feed. They average 1 lb (0.45 kg) in weight and 1 ft (30 cm) in length and are common around the West Indies and Florida. The gray, or common, triggerfish is variably colored in mottled browns, yellows, or grays, but many other species are strikingly colored, e.g., the queen triggerfish in blue, green, and yellow. The ocean triggerfish, which unlike most triggerfishes found in waters away from reefs, among seaweed or debris; it is up to 2 ft (60 cm) long and may weigh as much as 13 lb (6 kg). Triggerfish are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes, family Balistidae.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"This year we have also had some fantastic trigger fish and sunfish."
How to give life to your fly and trigger fish to strike
You could use wrasse, dogfish, black bream, red bream, monkfish, cod, hake, weaver, trigger fish, gurnard, red mullet, bass, John Dory, bream, skate, congor, eel, grey mullet.
Here, snorkelers can see the vibrant colors of the parrot, lookdown, and trigger fish, as well as the proud yellow and white stripes of the curious sergeant major fish.
It could also trigger fish kills and red tide, and decline in fish production.
Often this maneuver works as well as the lift-fall to call in and trigger fish.
A shoal of trigger fish darted by and turtles flapped and fed on the reef - the piece de resistance, an amazing underwater light show from a glowing octopus.
Club secretary Colin Doyle caught a 1.02kg trigger fish to take first prize in the Bargoed Sea Anglers competition at Llantwit Major.
Shore or boat dive in the reserve, deep or shallow, wreck or reef, and watch out for the trigger fish that the gulf stream brings into our shores during the summer.
However, another theory put forward by scientists is that over-fishing by commercial vessels has radically reduced the numbers of many of the mauve stingers' predators such as trigger fish, sunfish and turtles.