Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Genus: Balistes, Triggerfish, Triggerfishes

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

cheek no grooves
groove before eye
tail base: no ridges
teeth notched, larger & pointed in center
large bony scales behind operculum



Body oblong, relatively deep, robust, compressed; cheeks without longitudinal grooves; distinct 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; side teeth notched, longer and pointed in center; gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; III dorsal spines, 1st can be locked erect, 2nd >½ the size of 1st; most rays of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins branched; tail base compressed, without spines, tubercles or ridges; 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 group of large, partly separated bony scales that form a thick membrane immediately behind gill opening; lateral line inconspicuous.

A tropical to subtropical genus of 7 species, found in the eastern Pacific and in both sides of the Atlantic; 2 trans-Atlantic species in our region.