The 40 species of triggerfish are scattered throughout the world’s seas and are familiar to divers and aquarium aficionados. Largest of all is the stone triggerfish, which reaches up to 3.3 feet long, found in the Eastern Pacific from Mexico to Chile.
These bottom dwellers dig out prey, such as crabs and worms, by flapping away debris with their fins and sandblasting with water squirted from their mouths. They also use very tough teeth and jaws to take on sea urchins, flipping them over to get at their bellies, which are armed with fewer spines. Triggerfish wreak such havoc on less fortunate reef dwellers that smaller fish often follow them to feast on their leftovers.
The Balistidae family takes its common name