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Marine Life: Titan Triggerfish

The dreaded titan trigger fish (Balistoides viridescens)! The one thing that most divers swim away from and start getting wary when seeing one within the vicinity due to their aggressive nature! But! That is not always true!

Here are some facts of the Titan Triggerfish that you may or may not have known before!

  1. Titan Triggerfish also known as Giant Triggerfish it is the biggest among its species! The oval shape and threatening looking teeth make them look very distinct.
  2. In most areas, the titan triggerfish tends to stay away from divers and snorkelers alike.
  3. Only during their nesting season, the females will set up their nest in a shaded sandy area to lay their eggs. It is during this season that divers and snorkelers should stay clear of the zone. The zone of which the eggs are laid are a cone-shaped territory and it is only within this area that the female titan triggerfish will fiercely defend her nest.
  4. To avoid the area, divers should stay a reasonable distance away from the nest. Swim around the nest and not over or across the area as that’s when the female titan triggerfish tends to attack.
  5. The titan triggerfish has sort of a warning sign before attacking where its black fin tips will rise before charging at you.

So, what can we do when you see a nesting triggerfish or one that has its black fin tips rise at you?

  1. Swim horizontally away from their zone.
  2. The titan triggerfish tends to go for brighter colored items so if they come close to you try to keep your dive fins in between the fish and yourself. (better a hole in your fins than yourself, right?)
  3. Keep your octopus handy to use a purge at them if they come too close.

All that said, the titan triggerfish are only aggressive when they are trying to protect their nests from intruders. So in any case, give them a wide berth and enjoy the beautiful sight of the titan triggerfish underwater!