The genus comprises about 12 genera of 40 species. In Eilat we have five species: Picasso Trigger Fish, Blue Trigger Fish, Orange Striped Trigger Fish, and Blue Throat Trigger Fish.
Trigger fish have flat and tall bodies and are diamond shaped. Their eyes are in the upper part of the head which prevents them being hurt when they devour sea porcupines. Their skin is tough and is covered in large bony scales. Their mouth is relatively small and the lips are thick, both are tough. They are 30 to 75 centimeters in size.
The trigger fish are characterized by the two fins on its back. On the forward fin there are three spikes and the first of them is very developed. This spike can be locked in place when erect by the second spike that faces forward and acts as a lock to keep it erect. With this spike the trigger fish holds onto cracks between corals when hiding.
They feed on mollusks, shrimp, coral, various sea porcupines that they dismember using their strong teeth, and algae that it scrapes off the coral. It finds its prey by blowing streams of water at the target area.
The way it eats the sea porcupine which has long black spikes is very interesting. The fish blows a strong jet of water that overturns the porcupine and so exposes its underside, which has short spikes.
In the breeding phase, the male digs a hole in which the female lays her eggs. These are guarded by the male for a day or more until they hatch and the fry move into the open sea. During this period the male can be aggressive towards anything that approaches the eggs. The meat of many of these species is poisonous and not suitable for consumption.
Picasso Trigger Fish
A species of the Trigger fish genus that is impressive in color and shape. It is 30 centimeters long, active by day and lives a solitary life in the shallow waters of the coral reefs.
It is characterized by the alternately striped blue and black lines in its eyes. Around the eyes, and the last three protruding rows of scales at the base of the tail, are decorated with a yellow – orange color. It has thick yellow lips.
It feeds on mollusks, shrimp and coral.