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Pinktail Triggerfish Profile


Pinktail Triggerfish (Melichthys vidua)

Pinktail Triggerfish (Melichthys vidua)

Photo by Keoki & Yuko Stender

Guide Fish Care Rating:

Scientific Name:

Melichthys vidua (Solander, 1844), Balistes nycteris - synonym of M. vidua (Jordan & Evermann, 1905)

Other Common Names:

Red-Tailed Triggerfish.

Hawaiian Names:

Hu-mu hu-mu hi-'u-ko-le, or, Hu-mu hu-mu u-li.


This Triggerfish is named for its "pink tail". The body is so dark it looks black, but in reality it is a very deep forest green color. The dorsal and anal fins have a translucent pinkish-white appearance marked with dark bands at the outside edges, and the pectoral fins have a yellowish color to them.


The distribution of this species extends from Hawai'i and the Tuamotu Islands westward through Polynesia, Micronesia, the Philippines, and the East Indies, and on across the Indian Ocean to the coast of Africa.

Average Size:

Larger specimens can grow to about 15 inches.

Minimum Tank Size Suggested:

100 gallons.


This fish enjoys the shallower waters outside the reef that has very rocky, stony or corally turrain where it can hide. Provide with plenty of shelter and ample room to roam around.


The Pinktail Triggerfish is one of the few Triggers that can actually be a pleasure to keep. It is rarely aggressive towards its tank mates, unless they are much smaller or introduced to the tank after the Pinktail. If more than one are to be kept in the same tank, it is best to add a male a up to several females at the same time.

This Trigger can be shy at first, but will become quite docile and outgoing over time.

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