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Do Triggerfish attack divers?

Triggerfish have got themselves a bad name amongst divers. Yet, there are many different species of triggerfish and not all are the mindless thugs most divers expect them to be. Some of the most common and popular species include the titan triggerfish, queen triggerfish, the Picasso triggerfish, red tooth triggerfish and of course the clown triggerfish. All these are often spotted when diving in Nusa Penida, Bali.

triggerfish marine life diving
Titan triggerfish have a bad reputation.

Why are they called triggerfish?

Triggerfish get their name from their little trigger fin a.k.a spines on the dorsal (back) fins that can be used as a predator defence and for anchoring. The first spine is large, and when it is erect, it stays that way until the fish lowers the smaller second spine, “triggering” the first.

The 'thug' or Titan triggerfish

The titan triggerfish, also known as the giant triggerfish, is one of the largest species of triggerfish and can grow up to three feet in length. They are easily recognizable by their distinctive blue and yellow stripes and large, triangular-shaped head. Titan triggerfish are known for their territorial behaviour and can be aggressive towards divers who come too close to their nests or territories. The titan triggerfish is in fact the only aggressive triggerfish. What is more, is that titans are not always aggressive, generally only in mating/reproductive season. They do not suffer fools gladly though, so don't go bothering them at any time of year.

The Queen Triggerfish

The queen triggerfish is another large species of triggerfish and is named for its royal blue and yellow colouring. Queen triggerfish are known for their curious and inquisitive nature, often swimming up to divers to investigate them. They are also highly intelligent and have been known to use tools, such as picking up shells and using them to dig in the sand.

The clown triggerfish

The clown triggerfish is one of the smaller species of triggerfish and is named for its bright, colourful patterns that resemble a clown's outfit. They are typically dark bluish/black with white polka-dots and and facial markings with bright yellow lips and are known for their playful and energetic behaviour. Clown triggerfish are often found in shallow reefs and lagoons, and are a favourite among divers for their beautiful appearance and playful nature.

marine life triggerfish scuba diving
Clown triggerfish have cool marking

The pretty blue one or red tooth triggerfish

Red tooth triggers are commonly found in the waters around Nusa Penida, Bali. Divers love them as they have a beautiful moon-crescent-shaped tail and lovely blue colour. They are found in great numbers in many dive sites around Nusa Penida.

The Picasso triggerfish

The Picasso triggerfish has all sorts of cool markings and looks very artistic! It is also a favourite amongst divers. Of a shyer nature than the titan or clown triggerfish, it is often found solitarily exploring the reef all around Bali including in Nusa Penida.

There are many many other species, big and small.

Triggerfish are a fascinating and beautiful species that are a joy to encounter on a dive. They are known for their bright colours, intelligent behaviour, and playful personalities. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, encountering a triggerfish is sure to be a highlight of your diving experience.


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