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Species: Melichthys niger, Black Durgon Triggerfish, Black triggerfish, Black durgon

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body & fins black, D & A base white line

Melichthys niger (Bloch, 1786)

Black durgon, Black triggerfish

Body an elongate oval, robust, compressed; cheeks without longitudinal grooves; distinct groove before eye and below nostril; mouth small, opens a little above center line, with powerful jaws and 8 heavy, outer teeth on the upper and lower jaws, teeth about even in size, not notched; gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; dorsal fin III (1st can be locked erect, 2nd > ½ the size of 1st) + 30-35; anal rays 28-31; anterior rays of second dorsal and anal fins moderately elevated, much longer than posterior rays; pectoral rays 15-17; most rays of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins branched; 8-10 lateral ridges on rear of body and tail base formed by scales with low ridges; caudal fin moderately to strongly concave; pelvic fins externally reduced to 4 pairs of large scales encasing end of pelvis; thick leathery skin, with regularly arranged diagonal scale plates; snout completely scaled; a patch of enlarged scales immediately behind gill opening; lateral line inconspicuous.

Black to blue-black body and fins, with a pale blue-white line along the base of the dorsal and anal fins; front of head may be yellowish; thin blue lines radiating dorsally and anteriorly from eye.

Size: reaches 50 cm.

Inhabits rocky reefs and coral areas.

Depth: 0-406 m.

Circumtropical; Bermuda to Brazil.



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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Omnivore
  • Corallivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Zooplankton
  • Data
  • Pelagic fish larvae
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
  • Phytoplankton
  • Hard corals
  • Bony fishes
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Insular primarily
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 406