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Dieren en planten

Fish   Triggerfish   Sunfish   Marine fauna   Sea fish   Catches and finds   

Mens en Milieu



Maximum 60 cenimeters
Dutch sportfishing record: 44.5 centimeters


Maximum 13 years


Fins with bluish lines


molluscs and crustaceans


lays eggs

  • Dut: Trekkervis
  • Lat: Balistes carolinensis
  • Eng: Triggerfish
  • Ger: Drückerfisch
  • Fre: Baliste (Alutère)
Triggerfish, foto fitis, sytske dijksen


Triggerfish are a warm water species, which only occasionally swim in the North Sea. This unusual fish is named after the appearance of the front spine on its back, which looks like a pistol trigger. This spine can be erected and held in place by the adjacent spine, which is then held in place by the third spine. In that way, triggerfish use their dorsal fin when in danger to clamp themselves in a crevice between rocks on the sea floor. It's almost impossible for the attacker to get the fish out of the crevice.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Trigger-fish, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Because the number of triggerfish has grown tremendously in West-African waters and the current patterns in waters of northwestern Europe have changed somewhat, triggerfish have been found more often in northern European waters since the 1970s than before. The first specimen in the Netherlands was caught in 1930 in the former Zuiderzee by Amsterdam. This triggerfish lived in the aquarium in Artis for years.

    The fish live in the Atlantic Ocean in warmer waters south of the Gulf Stream. They are found occasionally in the North Sea particularly in the summer and autumn. They like to swim in bays and harbors or by wrecks or reefs further in the sea.

  • Triggerfish at Ecomare

    A triggerfish used to swim in the aquarium at Ecomare. It was caught in the North Sea in 2009. Unfortunately, it died in 2012. This triggerfish became very tame. When an animal caretaker came to his basin, it always appeared immediately. Nevertheless, one always had to be careful with this predator fish. One time, it bit a caretaker in its finger. Not to be mean, but because it wasn't clear where the fish ended and the finger began. A bite from a triggerfish is painful; it has strong teeth and jaws, with which it can crack shellfish!