Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes
(Puffers and filefishes) > Balistidae
Etymology: Balistoides: Latin, balista, -ae = crossbowman + Greek, oides = similar (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 75 m (Ref. 9710). Tropical; 43°N - 32°S, 31°E - 168°W
Indo-Pacific: East Africa south to Durban, South Africa (Ref. 4420) and east through Indonesia to Samoa, north to southern Japan and south to New Caledonia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2334)
soft rays: 21 - 27;
Vertebrae: 18. Unique color pattern of large white spots on belly, black spots on yellow background on the back, yellow snout. A white or yellowish band across snout in front of eye. Lips and the area around mouth orange-yellow. A broad vertical white, slightly yellowish band on caudal fin. Scales enlarged above pectoral-fin base and just behind gill opening to form a flexible tympanum. Rows of small anteriorly projecting spines on caudal peduncle. A prominent groove extending anteriorly from front of eye for a distance of about 1 eye diameter. Mouth terminal. Caudal peduncle compressed (Ref 9770). 39-50 rows of plate-like scales.
Lives in clear coastal to outer reef habitats (Ref. 48637). Occurs in clear seaward reefs adjacent to steep drop-offs. A solitary species (Ref. 9710). Uncommon to rare throughout most of its range (Ref. 9770). Adults usually seen along deep drop-offs, swimming about openly and may retreat to caves when approached. Juveniles secretive in small caves with rich invertebrate growth (Ref. 48637). Diet consists of sea urchins, crabs and other crustaceans, mollusks, and tunicates (Ref. 9770). Marketed fresh (Ref. 9770). Among the most highly prized aquarium fishes (Ref. 1602).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Distinct pairing (Ref. 205). Spawning occurs in patches of mixed coral rubble and sand on clear seaward reefs (Ref. 37816).
Matsuura, K., 2001. Balistidae. Triggerfishes. p. 3911-3928. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9770)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 23.3 - 28.8, mean 27.3 (based on 552 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.7500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02570 (0.01243 - 0.05316), b=2.94 (2.77 - 3.11), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.3 ±0.39 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (39 of 100) .