Pufferfish

© Jean Tresfon

Name

Pufferfish (Tetraodontidae)

Alias

Puffers, Blowfish, Bubblefish, Swellfish and Honeytoads

Size

Pufferfish measure 40 cm on average but can be as long as 1 m.

Identification

The body and head of the pufferfish is rounded and long. It has a terminal mouth and four merged teeth which form the strong upper and lower plates. Its tail area is thinner and narrows near the caudal fin. The skin of the pufferfish is tough and without scales. They vary in colour but are predominantly beige and brown with darker patches.

General Information

Pufferfish belong to the Tetraodontidae family which comprises of 19 genera and 121 species. They use their pectoral fins to propel themselves forward but are very slow swimmers. They are able to inflate their bodies by gulping water or air when on land.

These fish are pelagic spawners and occur over soft, sandy bottom areas near reefs or estuaries. The flesh of the pufferfish is extremely poisonous, and they are often mistaken for the porcupinefish.

Diet

Pufferfish feed on urchins, starfish, sponges, worms, corals, molluscs, algae and tunicates.

Distribution

They can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans across the world.

Common Species

Blackspotted pufferfish (Arothron nigropunctatus)
Map pufferfish (Arothron mappa)
Model toby (Canthigaster valentini)

© Johan Boshoff