Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes
(Puffers and filefishes) > Balistidae
Etymology: Pseudobalistes: Greek, pseudes = false + Greek, ballo = to throw (Ref. 45335). More on author: Rüppell.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 2 - 50 m (Ref. 1602). Tropical; 34°N - 34°S, 27°E - 124°W
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea south to Natal, South Africa (Ref. 4420) and east through Indonesia to the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9770)
Inhabits coastal to inner reefs and estuaries, often in silty habitats (Ref. 48637). Found on lagoon slope and floor (Ref. 30573), also coral reefs. Generally solitary or in pairs (Ref. 4420). Young form small aggregations when common while adults are usually seen solitary, except when nesting and males congregate on certain sand flats adjacent to reefs (Ref. 48637). Feeds on tips of coral branches, gastropods, crustaceans, foraminiferans, and tunicates (Ref. 1602) and also on sea urchins (Ref. 9770). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Nest-guarding females are aggressive (Ref. 9770). Also caught with drive-in nets. Marketed fresh and dried-salted (Ref. 9770). Ciguatoxic in certain areas (Ref. 37816).
Males migrate to a traditional spawning ground where they establish territories enclosing nest sites and egg chambers (Ref. 9777). Nesting occurs in sand-bottomed channels and shallow cuts through the barrier reef (Ref. 9778, 37816). The nest consist of depressions up to 2 m wide and 0.7 m deep (Ref. 9778, 37816). Females arrive several days later and select a male for mating (Ref. 9777). Exhibit biparental care (Ref. 9777). Up to 430,000 or more eggs may be deposited in a spongy fist-sized cluster weighted down with pieces of rubble (Ref. 9778, 37816). Males establish a territory for spawning and parental care but not for feeding (Ref. 116451). Only females tend the eggs but both parents keep guard (Ref. 116451).
Myers, R.F., 1991. Micronesian reef fishes. Second Ed. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 298 p. (Ref. 1602)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 1602)
Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.7 - 29, mean 27.8 (based on 976 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02570 (0.01254 - 0.05268), b=2.94 (2.77 - 3.11), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.8 ±0.26 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=0.49; Fec=430,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (29 of 100) .