Nesting sites and behavior of the deep water triggerfish Canthidermis maculata (Balistidae) in the Solomon Islands and Thailand

Eugenie Clark, Diane R. Nelson and Rachel Dreyer

aqua International Journal of Ichthyology,  pp. 1-38, Volume 21 issue 1, 15 January 2015


We observed the nesting behavior, eggs, and larvae of the triggerfish Canthidermis maculata in the Solomon Islands and in Thailand. We found groups of 3 to over 120 nests, extending from shallow water (6 m) to, more commonly, deeper water (35-40 m). Nests,  approximately 1 m diameter, sometimes occupied every available space in the soft sand bottom between reef contours, coral heads, and/or boulders. Nesting sites were usually found near drop-offs into deep water (300+ m). We observed active nests with one or two fish near or in the nest. The guarding C. maculata aerated the nest and defended it against other fish species, except herbivorous fish which grazed around the rim of the nest. Color pattern changes on the head and pectoral region occurred when the fish were courting and/or defending a nest. We observed courtship behavior near dusk. Demersal eggs collected from nests hatched during the night in containers aboard our vessel, and the pelagic larvae immediately swam upward.

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