Gray triggerfish

Balistes capriscus

Family Balistidae - triggerfish

Body deep, laterally compressed; skin rough, covered with scale plates; color grayish with green tints, some dark blotches and markings, chin lighter; large dark blotch at posterior end of soft dorsal and anal fins with several rows of small white spots; 3 dorsal spines, the 1st spine can lock in an upright position and can only be depressed by "triggering" the 2nd or 3rd spine; gill slit small, fleshy, just above pectoral fin base; enlarged scale above pectoral base forming a flexible "tympanum"; small groove in front of eye; dorsal, anal and pectoral fin rays branched; no pelvic fins; pelvic area fleshy with spines, 1st spine thick and thorny; scales hard, rough to the touch; caudal fin rays elongated above and below.
Similar Species
Differs from filefishes by having 3 dorsal spines and tympanum (flexible enlarged scales above pectoral fin base).
Gulf, common around reefs and platforms
Maximum Size
60 cm (23 1/2 in), common to 44 cm (17 1/2 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. III+27-29; A. 23-26 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
Underwater photo courtesy of TPWD Artificial Reef Marine Species
State size/bag limits
Minimum size is 16 in.; bag limit is 20; Check for state record.