Mediterranean: what is the triggerfish, this fish that bites bathers?

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Vacationers bathing in the Antibes and Cannes area were bitten by surprise by triggerfish. But what is this fish?

For the past month, the triggerfish has come to bite the legs of swimmers by surprise in the Antibes and Cannes sector, just a few meters from the beach, as reported BFM TV. “I have a friend’s husband, a fortnight or three weeks ago, who was bitten by a fish offshore, he bled a little. It’s a little scary but hey, it’s not not very bad“, told a vacationer.

The common triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) is a fish usually found in tropical waters such as the Caribbean. It sometimes happens that it comes to the waters of the Mediterranean. Very curious and sociable, he can be aggressive when he feels threatened. The animal is considered a non-invasive species, and can measure up to 60 centimeters. It feeds on sea urchins and has very powerful incisors at the end of its beak.

Ballista bites had already been reported in 2020 in Sant-Raphaël in the Var or in Leucate in the Aude. As explained then to The Midi Dispatch Pascal Romans from the Banyuls Conservatory, the animal may be “in the breeding season”: “In tropical waters, it is impossible to approach a triggerfish nest… If the water is warmer, his metabolism increases and he needs to eat more.” When meeting the triggerfish, the expert recommends capturing the fish with a landing net before moving it away from the coast.

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