Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Rhinecanthus verrucosus, Black-patch triggerfish, Blackbelly triggerfish

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large dark oval blotch above anus
thin black bar through eye
tail base: 3 rows black spines

Rhinecanthus verrucosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Blackbelly triggerfish, Black-patch triggerfish

Body oblong, robust, compressed; top and bottom head profiles nearly straight; cheek normally scaled, without longitudinal grooves; no groove before eye and below nostril; a small mouth that opens at the front, 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, 3rd minute, barely visible), 23-26; anal fin 21-23;  soft dorsal and anal of uniform height, not higher at front; most rays of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins branched; pectoral 13-14; tail base  and rear body with 3 rows of small, forward-pointing spines, top row short, on peduncle only; tail rounded to W shaped; pelvic fins externally reduced to 4 pairs of large scales encasing end of pelvis; thick leathery skin, with regularly arranged diagonal scale plates; no group of large, partly separated bony scales immediately behind gill opening; lateral line inconspicuous.

Pale brown above, white below; lower rear of body with a large black to dark brown blotch; head with a black bar across eyes and down cheek, that with blue lines between eyes and blue edges; a thin orange stripe from mouth to lower rear of head; top lip in blue area; tail base with black spines; tail fin clear, with red-brown upper and lower borders.

Reaches 23 cm

Habitat: Subtidal reef flats, often in silty areas.

Depth range 0-50 m.

Indo-west Pacific; introduced to southeast Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 23
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50