© Johan Boshoff


Porcupinefish (Diodontidae)


Blowfish, Balloonfish and Globefish


Porcupinefish measure 35 cm on average but can be up to 90 cm long.


Porcupinefish have rounded bodies which narrow towards the head and caudal fin. Their head is usually larger than their body, and their big teeth make their mouth appear beak-like. Their bodies are covered in short and longer spines. Porcupinefish vary in colour, but are predominantly light brown with yellow or darker spots.

General Info

Porcupinefish belong to the Diodontidae family which comprises of six genera and 19 species. Their spines can be erected when they are threatened, or it remains erected permanently, and their bodies can inflate by gulping water. Some porcupinefish species are poisonous and can give injuring bites when taunted. These pelagic spawners occur on reefs and hide under ledges during the daytime. They look similar to the pufferfish but are distinguished by their spines.


Porcupinefish feed on molluscs, urchins, sponges and crabs.


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

Common Species

Porcupinefish (Diodon hystrix)
Shortspine porcupinefish (Diodon liturosus)
Yellowspotted porcupinefish (Cyclichthys spilostylus)