Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata
The Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata, whose common Spanish name is cochito manchado, is a species in the Triggerfish or Balistidae Family, known collectively as cochitos in Mexico. This fish is also known at the Spotted Oceanic Triggerfish. There are only three global members of the Canthidermis Genus, three of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic, one in the Pacific and one in both oceans.
The Rough Triggerfish are an ocean pelagic species that is normally found far out at sea. They collect around floating debris such as logs but have been found at depths up to 360 feet. They reach a maximum of 50 cm (20 inches) in length and 2.4 kg (5.2 pounds) in weight. They are a rare, deep water species and little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters they are found in all waters of the Atlantic. In the Pacific they are found from Acapulco south along the coast of the mainland to Guatemala and around all the oceanic islands. I have caught a fish that was about 10 miles north of La Playita and 30 miles into the Sea of Cortez, and have juveniles collected off the southwest coast of Baja extending the known northerly range for this species.
The Rough Triggerfish is an easy fish to identify and cannot be confused with any other species.
The Rough Triggerfish are exceedingly rare and therefore of limited interest.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata, juvenile. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, October 2009. Length: 5.8 cm (2.3 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata. Fish caught from coastal waters of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2012. Length: 36 cm (14 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata. Underwater photo taken in coastal waters off Kailua-Kona, HI, November 2015. Length: 41 cm (16 inches). Photo courtesy of Bob Hillis, Ivins, UT.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata. Fish caught from coastal waters off Vanuatu, October 2012. Length: 46 cm (18 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Rough Triggerfish, Canthidermis maculata. Fish caught from oceanic waters in the Central Pacific (2oN, 140oW), July 2016. Length: 44 cm (17 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Dan Fuller, San Diego, CA.