Clown triggerfish

Balistoides conspicillum family

Balistidae taxonomy

Balistoides conspicillum Bloch and Schneider, 1801, Indian and American seas.

other common names

French: Baliste lepreaux; German: Leoparden-Drückerfisch; Afrikaans: Nas-snellervis; Japanese: Mongarakawahagi.

physical characteristics

Body and caudal peduncle are compressed; the body is robust and oval in shape. There are three spines and 25-27 soft rays in the dorsal fin as well as the anal fin. The first dorsal spine can be locked into an erect position. The caudal fin is somewhat rhomboid in shape. The body's color pattern is unmistakable. The background color is black, with large white spots along the flank, a white breast and band below the eye, a white caudal peduncle, and an alternating pattern of black, white, and black on the caudal fin. The mouth is yellow or orangish yellow, with a thin yellow stripe on a black background. Faint yellow hues are found along the base of the anal fin and on the caudal peduncle. The dorsal, lower anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are white. Grows to at least 19.7 in (50 cm) in total length.


Tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific from East Africa and South Africa east to Samoa, south to northern Australia and New Caledonia, and north to southern Japan.


Occurs mainly on seaward reefs or passes along or adjacent to deep slopes or walls, from just below the surge zone to at least 246 ft (75 m).


Generally solitary, territorial, and even aggressive. feeding ecology and diet

Feeds upon benthic invertebrates, mainly crustaceans, including crabs, as well as sea urchins, mollusks, and tunicates.

reproductive biology

Reproduction is consistent with that of others in the family, but greater detail is needed. Pair-spawns. Lays and defends demersal eggs in a nest. The larvae are pelagic.

conservation status

Not listed by the IUCN but relatively rare in many localities and may be vulnerable to overfishing.

significance to humans

A highly prized aquarium fish species, often collected as juveniles or subadults but occasionally full grown for larger aquaria. Also taken in subsistence and minor commercial food fisheries but has been implicated in ciguatera poisoning in humans. ♦

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