Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes
(Puffers and filefishes) > Balistidae
Etymology: Balistes: Latin, balista, -ae = crossbowman. In Greek, ballo = to throw (Ref. 45335). More on author: Gmelin.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 100 m (Ref. 7348), usually 0 - 55 m (Ref. 55172). Subtropical, preferred 24°C (Ref. 107945); 58°N - 37°S, 98°W - 36°E
Eastern Atlantic: Mediterranean to Moçamedes, Angola. Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia (Canada), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Argentina (Ref. 7251).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 16.3, range 13 - ? cm
Max length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7348); common length : 44.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 47377); max. published weight: 6.2 kg (Ref. 40637)
soft rays: 23 - 26. Tall, with a small mouth and plate like scales (Ref. 35388). Three faint irregular broad dark bars on body; a narrow pale transverse band on chin; small light blue spots on upper half of body and median fins, and irregular short lines ventrally (Ref. 13442).
Inhabits bays, harbors, lagoons, and seaward reefs (Ref. 9710). May drift with young at surface among Sargassum (Ref. 9710). Usually solitary or in small groups (Ref. 9710). Feeds on benthic invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans (Ref. 4727). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Consumed mostly fresh, smoked, and dried salted. The flesh is of excellent quality. Because it is resistant to capture, it proliferates and competes for food with other species (Ref. 5377).
Smith-Vaniz, W.F., B.B. Collette and B.E. Luckhurst, 1999. Fishes of Bermuda: history, zoogeography, annotated checklist, and identification keys. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 4. 424 p. (Ref. 35505)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30911)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums