phew, we solved the mystery of the biting fish


It had been rife for several days from Saint-Raphaël, in the Var, to Leucate, in the Aude. A mysterious fish was preying on the calves of the bathers, with bites that could cause open wounds.

It was not the Teeth of the Sea, but all the same a mystery that caused some apprehension among vacationers and locals. The risk of being bitten by a marine animal while going for a swim is more pleasant.

Filmed in June

Informed of the “biting fish affair” which shakes the Mediterranean coast, a couple from Hérault remembered having filmed, in June, a very curious marine animal.

Wanting to swim from their boat, they had been prevented from doing so by a ballista stubbornly standing at the bottom of the ladder and biting their feet as soon as they tried to put a toe in the water – until the blood, anyway. , for the husband.

The couple therefore sent photos and video to the editorial staff of Midi Libre, and it was the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, which found the answer.

Aggressive when hungry

The mystery animal is a Capriscus triggerfish, in other words a common triggerfish. Able to measure up to 60 centimeters, it has the particularity of having very strong curved and pointed teeth and powerful incisors. And for good reason, the common triggerfish feeds on sea urchins.

At the Oceanological Observatory, it is explained that it is a fish “quite intelligent, very curious and which is not afraid of anything”.

“When he is hungry, he can become aggressive to defend his territory”

What is more, as soon as the water is hotter, its metabolism requires more food, continues the conservator of the Biodiversarium.

Pascal Romans puts forward a solution to solve the problem: capture the ballista with a dip net and release it further from the coast. Or if not, simply walk away when you bathe and see it point the tip of its nose!

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