The linespot triggerfish, Xanthichthys lineopunctatus is a species of marine fish so rare, that we’d never seen one, until last week. While visiting Reefwise on the outskirts of Chicago, we finally got to see this nigh-mythical triggerfish in person for the first time.
Up until a few years ago when LiveAquaria offered the first linespot triggerfish for sale to the aquarium hobby, the only pictures we had of Xanthichthys lineopunctatus were of dead and preserved specimens. Thankfully all that changed with an intense photographic session we had at Reefwise and their gorgeous linespot triggerfish.
Not only did they have one of these fish in stock and looking great, they actually have a pair, so we could also compare the live coloration of both the male and females of this killer triggerfish. The general appearance of the linespot triggerfish is a familiar motif for the genus, with the male sporting a maroon colored tail, a series of lines and spots on the body, and some blue streaks across the jaw, while the female is just overall muted by comparison.
Perhaps the reason for this species scarcity is that it is predominantly documented from the Indian Ocean with fewer reports from Southeast Asia. This particular pair was sourced from the Maldives, and other recent sightings have been from Mauritius.
The reason for the excitement is that Xanthichthys triggerfish are open water fishes, and therefore non-destructive in a reef aquarium environment. This reef-safe and low-aggression qualities of Xanthichthys triggerfish makes them ideal fish for the home aquarium, and it doesn’t hurt that these are very hardy fish too.
Blue throats, crosshatch, goldenbacks, greene and to lesser degree the sargassum triggerfish are celebrated aquarium fish, and hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of the linespot triggerfish as well.