The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Balistoides conspicillum
Balistoides conspicillum
(clown triggerfish)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Balistoides conspicillum (Bloch and Schneider, 1801)

Common name: clown triggerfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: The body is black with large white blotches on the lower half of the body.  There is a yellow net-like pattern on the back, just under the dorsal fin, and a broad white stripe between the nose and eyes.  The mouth is ringed in yellow, which is encircled by a thin white line.  The species can grow to 50 cm TL.  Dorsal rays III (25-27); anal rays 21-23.  From Randall et al. (1996).

Size: to 50 cm (Randall et al. 1996)

Native Range: Indo-Pacific; East Africa to Samoa and Line Islands in Central Pacific (Randall et al. 1996)

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: One specimen seen in September 2010 off Boca Raton, Florida. The species has also been introduced to coastal waters of Israel (Stern et al. 2016) and Spain (Weitzmann et al. 2015).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Balistoides conspicillum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL201020101Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Inhabits reefs from three to 75 meters depth and prefers areas near steep drop-offs.  It is uncommon or rare throughout most of its native range.  Pairs spawn on patches of sand and coral rubble, where eggs are attached to the substrate and guarded by the parents.  Difficult to keep in captivity, due to its aggressive nature.  From Myers (1999). Feeds on benthic invertebrates inluding crustaceans, sea urchins, mollusks and tunicates (Thoney et al. 2003).

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.

Status: Unknown.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Myers, R. F.  1999.  Micronesian Reef Fishes.  A Field Guide for Divers and Aquarists.  Coral Graphics, Davie, Florida.

Randall, J. E., G. R. Allen and T. C. Steene.  1996.  Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.  University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu.

Stern, N., E. N. Rachmilovitz, G. Sharon and A. Diamant.  2016.  The dire implications of releasing marine ornamental fishes into the wild: first reported case from the Red Sea.  Marine Biodiversity doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0600-4

Thoney, D.A., P.V. Loiselle and N. Schlager (eds). 2003. Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. Second Edition. Volume 5 Fishes II. Gale, Detroit, MI.

Weitzmann, B., L. Mercader and E. Azzurro.  2015.  First sighting of Zebrasoma flavescens (Teleostei: Acanthurida) and Balistoides conspicillum (Teleostei: Balistidae) in the Mediterranean Sea: two likely aquarium releases.  Mediterranean Marine Science 16: 147-150.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 3/22/2021

Peer Review Date: 9/17/2010

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2024, Balistoides conspicillum (Bloch and Schneider, 1801): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2823, Revision Date: 3/22/2021, Peer Review Date: 9/17/2010, Access Date: 7/17/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/17/2024].

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