Golden Undulate Triggerfish - Balistapus undulatus

Golden Undulate Triggerfish – Balistapus undulatus

Excerpt from CORAL Magazine’s Rarities column, July/August 2014, page 28

Exceptionally beautiful, the Undulate Triggerfish (Balistapus undulatus), also known as the Orangelined Triggerfish or Orangetailed Triggerfish, is regarded by many as one of the most bold and belligerent fishes collected for the aquarium trade. It is notorious for attacking divers who come too close to its nests—exactly the kind of reef fish some aquarists love.

Undulate Triggers normally have an emerald-green body with sweeping yellow-orange diagonal stripes, but occasional specimens appear with a gold body and orange patterns that may suggest war paint. Dave Palmer spotted this exceptional fish in an incoming shipment at Pacific Aqua Farms in Los Angeles.

“This one came from the Solomon Islands and I know the collection history. It was collected by Chris Betta who went on to become one of the core net trainers for the Marine Aquarium Council program and later one of the trainers for Eco EZ in Papua New Guinea. It came from the wild with none of the green pigment normally seen on the Undulate trigger. Of the five similar triggers I have had over the years four had varying amounts of green pigment. I kept one for several years and it eventually reverted to the normal coloration. This trigger had no green color present.”

—Dave Palmer

Like what you’re seeing? Additional entries from the “rarities” column can be seen in every issue of CORAL Magazine.

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Image Credit: Pacific Aqua Farms

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