The top half of the fish is mostly black with a yellow patch containing black shapes. The bottom half is black with large white spots. Their lips are bright orange, hence the name “clown” triggerfish. There is a narrow white stripe around the mouth and another white stripe below the eyes. There is a vertical white stripe on the caudal fin. The clown triggerfish has two dorsal spines, one large and one small.
These fish live near coral reefs in warm parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The strong jaws of the triggerfish enable it to crush and eat sea urchins and shelled prey like clams, snails, sea squirts, crabs and shrimp. They have teeth that never stop growing. There are eight sharp teeth at the front of the mouth, six teeth behind those and molar-like grinding teeth in the throat.
Male triggerfish maintain large territories with several females maintaining smaller territories within the male’s larger territory. Each female will dig a pit in the sand within their territory which will serve as a place to deposit the eggs
These fish fall prey to larger fish and sharks. When hiding from predators, triggerfish lock themselves into small openings with their trigger fins and bite down on the coral or rock to ensure their safety.