(page 520)


Table of Contents

The triggerfishes are very divergent from the ordinary spiny-rayed fishes anatomically, and their external appearance is so characteristic that they are not apt to be mistaken, unless for their close relatives, the filefishes (p. 521). Their most interesting external characteristics are that the first spine of the first dorsal fin is not only very much stouter than the others but it can be locked erect by the second dorsal spine, and that the large bony scales are so close set as to form a hard but flexible armor. Other distinctive features are mentioned below in the description of the Gulf of Maine species. Most of the many species of triggerfishes are purely tropical; it is only as a stray that any member of the family enters into the Gulf of Maine fauna. Most of the tropical species are more or less poisonous if eaten.