Redtoothed triggerfish

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Redtoothed triggerfish
Redtoothed triggerfish.jpg
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Family: Balistidae
Genus: Odonus
Gistel, 1848
Species: O. niger
Binomial name
Odonus niger
Rüppell, 1836

Odonus niger, also known as the redtoothed triggerfish, is a triggerfish of the tropical Indo-Pacific area, and the sole member of its genus.[1]


The redtoothed triggerfish is a dark, deep blue bodied fish, ranging up to 50 cm in length. The fins are all blue-green in color, having yellow and light blue trim. It has a lyre shaped caudal fin with a yellow bar between the lobes. Like all triggerfish, redtoothed triggers have a retractable dorsal spine.[2]

Their pectoral fins are quite small; as a result they steer mostly with their dorsal and anal fins, which makes them very maneuverable, and they also use these fins to move with an exotic type of propulsion reminiscent of a propellor. It is one of the most singular swimming styles in the ocean.


It inhabits open waters and current-swept seaward reefs between 0 and 35 metres (0–115 feet) and can often be seen in groups turning and circling just under the sea surface while feeding on plankton brought in by the current. Sponges are another part of their menu.

In the Aquarium[edit]

Odonus niger is a hardy member of a saltwater aquarium. It has a reputation as one of the most peaceful of the triggerfish. However, it cannot be easily kept in an aquarium with invertebrates, although careful selection of invertebrates sometimes can make it possible to keep in a reef aquarium. A single small redtoothed trigger can be kept in a 40-gallon aquarium, however because they are fast growing a larger tank should be strongly considered. For a full-sized adult specimen, a 200-gallon or larger aquarium is advised.


  1. ^ Matsuura, K. (2014): Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research, 62 (1): 72-113.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Odonus niger" in FishBase. February 2015 version.