Picasso triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus

  • Fringing Reef
  • Picasso triggerfish
  • Fauna
  • Lagoon coral patches


Rhinecanthus aculeatus, of the order of Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes) and family of Balistidae (Triggerfishes) is commonly known as the White-banded triggerfish. It has a total of 3 dorsal spines, 23 to 26 dorsal soft rays, no anal spines and 21 to 23 anal soft rays[1]. This species can reach a maximum recorded length of 30cm. The body is compressed with an elongated head. There is a blue line above the upper lip and a yellow area surrounding a small mouth. This yellow area extends to the base of the pectoral fin. There is a dark thick black band near the lateral line with a smaller band that extends ventrally[2].


[1] ‘Rhinecanthus Aculeatus Summary Page’.

[2] ‘Lagoon Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus Aculeatus) - Species Profile’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is present across the Indo-Pacific region. The recorded depth range reaches 50m. It can be found in subtidal reef flats and shallow lagoons. Juveniles can be found in rubble areas, while adults swim openly in the water column. Their diet consists of algae, dead matter, worms, sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans, fishes, corals, tunicates, foraminiferans and eggs. Adults usually form pairs during breeding.


Conservation and management

The conservation status of this species has not been evaluated yet. It is part of aquarium trade and is trapped as by-catch.

Did you know?

The Picasso triggerfish sleeps on its side. It makes a whirring noise when it is alarmed.