Latin name

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Other names

Blackbar triggerfish, picasso triggerfish, picassofish.


They have a tall, elongated body that is flattened at the sides. The head is triangular and oval at the back. 

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 23-26; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 21-23.

Fish colouring

The back is greenish-olive, the belly is pale, almost white. A black band with blue edges runs across the eyes and gill cover. There are three black lines on the caudal peduncle. Another black stripe runs from the mouth to the pectoral fins. The mouth is yellow.


Inhabit the Red Sea, the Indo-Pacific from the coast of East and Southern Africa to Japan, Hawaii, Lord Howe Island and the Tuamotu, and the western Atlantic from Senegal to South Africa. 


Marine benthopelagic tropical species. The depth range is from 0 to 50 meters. These fish prefer shallow lagoons with coral vegetation, sandy and pebble bottoms and coral reefs. 


The body length is 30 centimeters, but individuals as short as 15 centimeters are most common.


They live at depths of up to 5 meters, alone or in pairs. They are territorial, but are sometimes found in large schools.

Food and feeding habits

They feed on a variety of benthic invertebrates such as worms, mollusks, sea urchins, crabs, as well as algae, foraminifera and detritus.


Egg-laying species. The mating system may be a mixture of polygyny, monogamy, and potential promiscuity in individual females, but the primary mating system considered is polygyny.  


They are of minor commercial importance in fisheries. They are caught in nets and are a popular aquarium fish.

Relationship with a person

Due to their aggressiveness, they are not suitable for keeping in an aquarium with other fish. 

These fish will defend their eggs extremely aggressively, even attacking divers and swimmers. They may make buzzing noises in case of danger.

There have been reports of ciguatera poisoning.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Tetraodontiformes
Family Balistidae
Genus Rhinecanthus
Species R. aculeatus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 30
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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