Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Lactophrys trigonus, Trunkfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

no spines before eyes
spine at lower rear corner of box
back humped
box partly open behind D base
greenish + small white spots, carapace plates dark edged
juv: orange/lime green + scattered white-ringed dark spots

Lactophrys trigonus (Linnaeus, 1758)


Body oblong, with an obvious hump on back, thick, enclosed in a bony box formed by thickened, joined, enlarged scale plates that are usually hexagonal in shape; carapace has openings for mouth, eyes, gill slits and fins and tail, completely surrounds base of anal fin but incomplete and partly open behind base of dorsal fin, behind which there is an isolated oval plate, without spines before eyes, with a pair of spines at lower rear corner, last plates above and below tail base not prolonged as spines; mouth small, at front, lips fleshy; teeth moderate, conical, usually <15 per jaw; gill openings short, oblique slits in front of pectoral bases; no spiny dorsal, soft dorsal and anal fins at rear of carapace; no pelvic fins; tail base slender, flexible, tail fin a fan with a rounded end; dorsal, anal and pectoral fin rays branched; lateral line inconspicuous.

Green to tan, with a dark-edged honeycomb pattern; small adults with 2 blackish oblique chain-like marks, 1 behind and above the pectoral base, the other about mid-side; Juvenile: orange to lime green; nape and upper body with scattered small white ringed, dark spots, those spots darker in 2 areas above pectoral and at mid-body.

Reaches 55 cm.

Lives mainly in seagrass beds, also rubble areas and offshore reefs.

Depth range: 1-110 m.

Massachusetts to Brazil; Ascension island in the S Atlantic.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 55
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 110