Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reef Triggerfish


Reef Triggerfish | The reef, rectangular or wedge-tail triggerfish, also known by its Hawaiian name, humuhumunukunuku─üpuaa, also spelled Humuhumunukunukuapua'a or just humuhumu for short, which means "triggerfish with a snout like a pig," is one of several types triggerfish. Classified as Rhinecanthus rectangulus, is endemic to the salt water coasts of various central and south Pacific islands. It is often claimed that the Hawaiian name is one of the longest words in the Hawaiian language, and that "the name is longer than the fish." The Reef triggerfish is also known as the Wedge-tail triggerfish, the rectangular triggerfish and the V-line Humu Humu. It is often confused with the Picasso Trigger. The Reef triggerfish is the official state fish of Hawaii.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Actinopterygii
Order:     Tetraodontiformes
Family:     Balistidae
Genus:     Rhinecanthus
Species:     R. rectangulus

The Reef triggerfish visit the outer edges of coral reefs of the central and western Pacific, including the Red Sea. It has a brown body with dark bands. The distinctive features include blue / black strips over his eyes, blue lips and a black wedge at the base of the caudal fin, which is outlined in brown and yellow. The Reef triggerfish is very agile and changes direction quickly. Triggerfish have a double dorsal fin with a large spine on the front of the fin. It uses the spine stuck in rocks and coral where he sleeps at night, well protected from predators. Triggers are known to sleep on their side too.


The Reef triggerfish is generally found in shallow outer reef habitats, often in surge-swept basalt reefs. It swims near the bottom, looking for potential food items. It feeds on algae and reef invertebrates, including small crustaceans, worms, brittlestars, sea urchins and snails. The reef trigger is not easy to come close and tends to keep a distance from the observer, but its distinctive behavior and appearance make it easy to watch from a distance.


When chased by a predator, the Reef triggerfish sometimes growling sound. Some observers speculate that this may serve to trigger near the hazard warning. The Reef triggerfish is not appreciated as a food fish by today's tastes, though it is edible and was recognized as such by the early Hawaiians. They would use cooked pumpkin or sweet potatoes to lure the fish into baskets lowered into the water. Triggerfish were also dried and cooking fuel used by Hawaiians who do not care for the taste, or as fuel was in short offer.

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