Rough Triggerfish

Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata

The Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata, who is also known as the Spotted Oceanic Triggerfish, whose common Spanish name is Cochito Manchado is a member of the Triggerfish or Balistidae Family, known collectively as “cochitos” in Mexico.

The Rough Triggerfish has an elongated (45-47% width of standard length), robust, compressed oblong body that is black to grayish dark blue and covered with small white spots. Their head has a rounded profile, modest sized eyes, a small mouth that opens at the front, and powerful jaws with eight heavy human-like teeth on the upper and lower jaws. The anal fin and second dorsal fin are long and curved and the anterior rays are very elevated and much longer than the posterior rays; the caudal fin is doubly concave; the dorsal fin has three spines the first of which can be locked erect and the second is one-half the size of the first; and, the pelvic fins are minute. They have thick leathery skin.

The Rough Triggerfish is an ocean pelagic and normally found far out at sea. They are normally only observed around floating debris such as logs but are known at depths up to 360 feet. They reach a maximum length of 50 cm (19.7 inches) and 2.4 kg (5 pounds). The Rough Triggerfish is found from Acapulco south along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala, and around all of the oceanic islands. I have caught a fish that was about 10 miles north of La Playita and 30 miles into the Sea of Cortez, extending the known northerly range for this species.They are a rare, deep water species and not much is known about their behavioral patterns.

The Rough Triggerfish is an easy fish to identify and they cannot be confused with any other species.

The Rough Triggerfish is exceedingly rare and therefore of limited interest.

Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata: Fish caught off the surface 10 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja Californa Sur, October 2003, with a hoop net. It was a part of a massive school mixed about 50:50 with Pacific Tripletails, Lobotes pacificus, under a very large floating tree. The fish were brought to the surface and became “balled up” in a group of about 500, fighting over chummed sardines. Size: 25 cm (10 inches). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata: Fish caught off the surface 10 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja Californa Sur, October 2003, with a hoop net. It was a part of a massive school mixed about 50:50 with Pacific Tripletails, Lobotes pacificus, under a very large floating tree. The fish were brought to the surface and became “balled up” in a group of about 500, fighting over chummed sardines. Length: 25 cm (10 inches). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.
Rough Triggerfish, Juvenile, Canthidermis maculata: Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, October 2009. Size: 5.8 cm (2.3 inches). Identifiection courtsey of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.
Rough Triggerfish, Juvenile, Canthidermis maculata: Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, October 2009. Length: 5.8 cm (2.3 inches). Identifiection courtsey of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.