ID Filefish & Triggerfish

Triggerfish or Filefish?

Filefishes (left), have two dorsal spines. The first spine is long and usually barbed. The second spine is minute, giving the appearance of a single spined dorsal. No tympanum is present. Their fin rays are typically fan shaped and are not branched at the ends.

Triggerfishes (right), have three well defined dorsal spines. The first spine locks in an upright position. The second smaller dorsal spine acts as a trigger to depress the first spine. Scales above the pectoral fin may be enlarged forming what is called a tympanum. Its dorsal and pectoral rays are branched at the ends.