Melichthys niger

Black triggerfish | Black Durgon | Black Oldwife | Ebony Triggerfish
Melichthys niger
Melichthys niger, Turks & Caicos, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Melichthys niger
Melichthys niger, Wolf, Galapagos, Photo: Graham Edgar
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Melichthys niger
Melichthys niger


Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Tropical Indo-Pacific


Oval-shaped black body, with white stripes along base of dorsal and anal fins. Similar M. indicus (Indian Triggerfish), has thick strips on fins and blue trim on tail fin. Sometimes occurs in large groups near the surface feeding on plankton. Swims by flapping dorsal and anal fins.


Max Size: 50 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 24.1-30.6°C

Depth: 0-75m

Habitat Generalization Index: 17.19

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Frequent (11.8% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Many (17 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: Joe Shields