Lactophrys triqueter

The smooth trunkfish or Lactophrys triqueter is a fish of the order Tetraodontiformes and of the family Ostraciidae. It inhabits waters less than 50 meters deep in the near-coral reef regions of the western Atlantic Ocean, from the coasts of Massachusetts to Brazil, including Bermuda, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Source: FAO

The body of Lactophrys triqueter is usually about 15 cm in length, although the maximum recorded length is 30 cm. It has a fortified body, with a flat ventral part and a triangular section. The face is slender and pointed, with large lateral eyes and a small but robust terminal mouth with protruding lips. The body region behind the head lacks a concavity. It also lacks spines in the vicinity of the eyes. Protruding from its fortified body are its fins, all of which lack spines and are made up of soft rays. The dorsal fin is located at the end of the body, at the same vertical as the anal fin. The rays of the dorsal, anal and pectoral fins (12) are yellow in color with the rest generally translucent. The caudal fin is rounded. As for the coloration of Lactophrys triqueter, its base color is blackish-brownish with numerous pale spots more or less circular, ranging from white to golden yellow. In the central part of the flanks, and behind the pectoral fins, they present a pattern of whitish spots with hexagonal shapes.

The morphological structure of Lactophrys triqueter, with its strong fortified body, makes the movements of this species relatively slow. Although it is true that if they want more propulsion they have the caudal fin, generally the movements of these specimens are slow and through a constant movement of the pectoral, anal and dorsal fins.

Among the prey on which Lactophrys triqueter feeds, we find a great variety of benthic invertebrates, such as molluscs, crustaceans, annelids, tunicates and sponges.