Eye-stripe Triggerfish (species: Sufflamen chrysopterum) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Sufflamen chrysopterum
Eye-stripe Triggerfish

©Graham Edgar: Sufflamen chrysopterum at Watson's Bay, Lizard Island.

©Lyle Vail: Sufflamen chrysopterum at Cobia Hole, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Eyestripe Triggerfish at MacGillivray Reef
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Tetraodontiformes
Family Balistidae
Genus Sufflamen
Species Sufflamen chrysopterum



Distinguishing features

A medium sized fish with a dark brown body and a dark purple throat and belly. A pale stripe runs vertically underneath the eye, and the tail is edged with white. Juveniles are greenish brown above, abruptly white below, with a broad green/brown submarginal band on the tail. Swims using an undulating motion of the dorsal and anal fins.


  • Up to 30 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Rubble areas on reef flats, and rubble zones adjacent to rocky shores.

Found in most reef habitats around the island.


Eye-stripe Triggerfishes are usually found singly or in loose groups, roaming slowly over rubble areas searching for their invertebrate prey. They have powerful jaws with large teeth and can feed on a wide range of food items, including molluscs, crustaceans, worms and echinoderms. They are shy fish and will retire into a hole if approached too closely.

This species is gonochoric and sexually dimorphic, with seperate sexes throught the life span and larger males. Triggerfishes have demersal eggs which they lay in a benthic nest which is closely guarded by the female for 3-5days until the larvae hatch.The newly settled juveniles are often found in the high intertidal near rocky shores.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach (2003). Reef fish identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA.
  • Leis, J.M. and B.M. Carson-Ewart (2000). Larvae of Indo-Pacific Coastal Fishes Brill, Leiden, pp. 1-850. LIRS catalog number 660.

Other references

  • Bean, K., G.P. Jones and M.J. Caley (2002). Relationships among distribution, abundance and microhabitat specialisation in a guild of coral reef triggerfish (family Balistidae), Marine Ecology Progress Series, 233: 263-272. LIRS catalog number 90019.
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