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Melichthys niger  (Bloch, 1786)

Black triggerfish
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | PointMap | Year 2100 |
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Melichthys niger   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Melichthys niger (Black triggerfish)
Melichthys niger
Picture by Luiz, Jr., O.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes) > Balistidae (Triggerfishes)
Etymology: Melichthys: Greek,melis, -itos = honey, a sweet thing + Greek, ichthys = fish (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 75 m (Ref. 9710), usually 0 - 20 m (Ref. 40849).   Subtropical; 30°N - 29°S, 180°W - 180°E

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); common length : 30.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3272)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 30-35; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 28 - 31. A dark greenish-black triggerfish with purplish overtones. Pale blue lines along bases of soft dorsal and anal fins. Scales of rear part of body have prominent keels that form longitudinal ridges (Ref. 26938).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumtropical. Western Pacific: Ryukyu and Ogasawara islands eastward to the Tuamoto Islands. Eastern Pacific: San Diego, California, USA to Malpelo Island, Colombia (Ref. 9276). Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil (Ref. 7251). Reported from the Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 46995) but see Ref. 26938. Eastern Atlantic: St. Paul's Rocks (13121), St. Helena, Ascension Island, Rolas Island, and Cape Verde (Ref. 7348). São Tomé Island (Ref. 34088). Western Indian Ocean: Durban, Natal, South Africa (Ref. 4420). Uncommon in most areas but abundant around isolated oceanic islands (Ref. 9710).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabit clear seaward reefs. More common around oceanic islands (Ref. 9276). Found on inner and outer reef crests, usually near the slope or drop-off to deeper water, where in small but loose aggregations. Sometimes swim high above substrate feeding on zooplankton (Ref. 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Diet consists primarily of calcareous algae and zooplankton (Ref. 1602); also feed on phytoplankton (Ref. 5213). At Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, southeast Atlantic, groups of about 100 individuals join groups of spinner dolphins to feed on feces and vomits of the cetaceans when they congregate in a shallow bay for rest and social interactions. The postures a dolphin adopts prior to defecating or vomiting are recognized, and the fish begin to converge to the dolphin shortly before the actual voiding. Offal feeding may be regarded as a simple behavioral shift from plankton feeding to drifting offal picking (Ref. 48727). Marketed fresh (Ref. 9770).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Matsuura, Keiichi | Collaborators

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. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.6250   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02344 (0.01134 - 0.04848), b=2.96 (2.78 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  2.4   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (28 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Medium.