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Species: Xanthichthys ringens, Sargassum triggerfish

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blue-grey + black spots, cheek grooves dark, C red edges
mouth opens above, oblique

Xanthichthys ringens (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sargassum triggerfish

Body an elongate oval, robust, compressed; cheeks scaly, with 5-6 scaleless oblique grooves; distinct groove before eye and below nostril; a small mouth that opens a little above center line of body, lower jaw projecting, with powerful jaws made up of 8 heavy, outer teeth on the upper and lower jaws, teeth notched, uneven in size; gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; dorsal fin III, 1st can be locked erect, 2nd > ½ the size of 1st, last (3rd) dorsal spine very small, under skin, + 26-30; anal fin 23-27; front rays of soft dorsal and anal fins higher than rear rays; most rays of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins branched; pelvic fins externally reduced to 4 pairs of large scales encasing end of pelvis; tail base without ridges; tail concave; thick leathery skin, with large plate-like, diagonally arranged scales; body scales somewhat separated, with dark pigment between them forming cross-hatched color pattern; no patch of enlarged scales immediately behind gill slit; lateral line inconspicuous.

Blue grey; outer part of eye in a blue-white ring; grooves on cheek deep blue; base of dorsal and anal fins and membranes of 1st dorsal dark brown; body scales with an elongate black spot, in rows along sides; tail fin with orange-red edging top, bottom and rear.

Size to 25 cm.

Habitat: Young live in floating sargassum; adults on reefs.

Depth: 0-190 m, adults usually at 30-60 m.

North Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
  • Flotsam
  • Rocks
  • Water column
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 190