Triggerfish are typically between 10 and 20 inches in length. They have a laterally compressed body with a pointed snout and a small, rounded tail fin. They are generally brownish-grey in color with numerous yellow spots, and they have a bold black and white zigzag pattern on their back.
They inhabit coral reefs and nearby lagoons of the Indo-Pacific region, typically at depths of up to 100 feet.
Triggerfish are carnivorous fish that feed primarily on hard-shelled invertebrates such as mollusks, crustaceans, and sea urchins. They also eat small fish, algae, and detritus. They are generally solitary and territorial, preferring to live in shallow, protected coral reefs and lagoons.
The Balistidae family is made up of generally solitary and territorial fish that spend their time foraging for food, exploring their environment, and defending their territory. They are generally not aggressive towards divers, though they may become territorial if threatened.
The family consists of 40 species in total, the Clown Triggerfish being one of them. It is part of the genus Balistoides, which includes four species:
- Balistoides viridescens (the common Reef Triggerfish)
- Balistoides conspicillum (the Orange-lined Triggerfish)
- Balistoides viridescens var. undulosus (the Undulated Triggerfish)
- Balistoides viridescens var. flavomaculatus (the Black-spot Triggerfish)