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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

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Queen Triggerfish

(Balistes vetula)

The body of the queen triggerfish is regally colored with purple, blue, green and yellow (hence the name queen) which can change depending on its mood. On some of the islands in the Caribbean, the locals will dry the triggerfish skin in the sun to use as sandpaper.


These fish are found in the Atlantic Ocean, from Bermuda and the northern Gulf of Mexico, south to Brazil, and east to Ascension Island and the eastern Atlantic.


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.