Mediterranean: the triggerfish, this fish that bites swimmers, is back

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Vacationers swimming between Antibes and Cannes in the Alpes-Maritimes were bitten by a fish. This fish usually lives in tropical waters. This is not the first time that he has attacked vacationers.

Swimmers who were taking a dip or swimming on the Côte d’Azur in recent days have been bitten by a fish. They were attacked just meters from the beach. “A friend’s husband was bitten by a fish offshore. He bled a little. It’s a little scary but hey, it’s not very bad,” explained a young woman to BFM Nice Côte d’Azur.

So what is this biting fish? It’s a ballista. Its scientific name is Balistes capriscus. This fish is usually found in tropical waters, especially in the Caribbean. It happens to come to the waters of the Mediterranean. It is about 40 cm long and usually swims several meters deep.

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A Toulousain victim of a mysterious “biting” fish on a beach in Leucate

Curious but not known to be aggressive

The triggerfish is however not reputed to be aggressive and even rather sociable and curious. On the other hand, he can become aggressive and bite until he bleeds when he is hungry, if he feels threatened or to defend his territory. It has strong teeth that allow it to break mollusc shells or even the shells of crabs. It feeds on sea urchins.

“It is a fish that is not afraid of anything”, explained the curator of the Biodiversarium of Banyus-sur-Mer Pascal Romans to Midi-Free. “It may be breeding. In tropical waters, it is impossible to approach a triggerfish nest. If the water is warmer, its metabolism increases and it has to feed more.”

Ballista bites had been reported in 2020 in Sant-Raphaël in the Var or in Leucate in the Aude.

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