Queen Triggerfish a/k/a Old Wife
A sloping snout combined with ultra-tough skin makes the Queen Triggerfish the perfect predator of Sea urchins.
Better known as “Old Wife” in the islands, the fish blows pressurized streams of water at an urchin until it tumbles over. Once the urchin’s unprotected underbelly is exposed, the Old Wife digs in with hard, sharp teeth.
Fish are both opportunistic as well as sloppy eaters. Scraps from the urchin meal attract nearby fish. Very quickly the Old Wife has to defend its meal from pirates. A wide, flat body helps with this task by blocking fish intent on raiding lunch.
In the end, everyone gets something, even if it is just a leftover spine to munch on.
The ocean naturally recycles itself. In the Virgin Islands we recognize that fact and have made it illegal to remove natural objects from beaches and shorelines. This includes seashells, coral, natural drift wood, seaweed, pebbles, sand, etc. If it belongs there, leave it there.
~ Longspine squirrelfish – Holocentus rufus
*Any alteration to shoreline, no matter how small, requires a permit. Inquire at the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.*