Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


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Queen Trigger

Balistes vetula

ON EXHIBIT:  Gulf of Mexico and Secret Reef in both buildings

Queen Triggerfish


This fish is especially fond of sea urchins. When a queen triggerfish locates an urchin, it will use its teeth to gently bite down on one of the urchin's spines and lift it off the sea floor. The fish will then turn it so that the urchin falls back to the bottom on its spines, exposing its mouth. This area has no spines, and the triggerfish proceeds to attack this area. On some of the islands in the Caribbean, the locals will dry the triggerfish skin in the sun to use as sandpaper. 

Queen triggerfish are listed as vulnerable under the IUCN redlist, which means that their numbers could decline if habitat continues to degrade or they are overfished.

Fan Photo


About This Animal

SIZE: 2 ft. (61 cm)

RANGE: Western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico

HABITAT: Coral reefs

DIET:  Invertebrates

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