The clown triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum) is a brightly colored foraging predator found on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The clown triggerfish has flattened teeth to help it eat hard-shelled invertebrates like sea urchins, crustaceans, and mollusks. Few species are known to eat clown triggerfish.
The general name ‘triggerfish’ comes from the locking characteristic of the dorsal fin that all triggerfish possess. The first dorsal fin spine is large and strong and provides these fishes with some protection from predation. When it is standing upright, it is locked in place by the second spine. The first spine can only be lowered after the second is pulled back, like a trigger.
Clown triggerfish are territorial, and males are the first to arrive at spawning areas, where they set up and defend small territories. Once females arrive, the males actively court them, and the females decide with which males they will mate. After a female chooses a mate, she lays her eggs in his territory, and he immediately fertilizes them.
As a result of its bright colors, the clown triggerfish is one of the most sought-after reef fish for public and private aquariums. It is often captured in the wild to support this industry. The clown triggerfish is typically fairly uncommon but can reach large numbers at some locations, especially during mating.
Its conservation status is currently unknown.