MANY VISITORS TO TROPICAL REEFS have had their dives livened up when they unknowingly swim into the territory of a titan triggerfish.
These medium-sized fish (maximum length about 75cm) are normally shy and solitary, using their powerful jaws and large teeth to feed on a diet of crustaceans, sea urchins, molluscs and corals.
When nesting, however, their character changes, and the females will aggressively defend their territory from intruders. The territory is shaped like an inverted cone, rising from the nest, and anyone entering this cone will be chased off!
Those teeth that can crunch through coral so easily can be used on divers, and they can chomp through fins and wetsuits and, although not venomous, inflict a
painful wound.
I got to see these teeth close up at Richelieu Rock in Thailand when this fish decided to attack my camera, leaving me with some interesting photos!
If you should be attacked by a titan triggerfish protecting its territory, the worst thing you can do is to panic and swim upwards, because you will still be within the cone and it will keep coming at you.
The solution is therefore simple – swim away horizontally and get out of its territory fast!