Stripebelly Puffer, Arothron hispidus, Juvenile. Length: Identification courtesy of H. Walker, Jr. Stripebelly Puffer, Arothron hispidus.
Photos of Pufferfishes - family Tetraodontidae
Leave a comment Upload image See Google Images. Found singly protecting their territories over mixed coral, rocks, rubble, sand and weedy bottoms of inner reef flats and slopes in coastal bays, estuaries and lagoons rich in algae growth. They feed on algae, corals, crustaceans, detritus, invertebrates, molluscs, sponges, tunicates and worms. Juveniles found over weedy areas of estuaries.
The family tetraodontidae consists of mainly estuarine and marine species. Currently around species in 19 genera are recognized. They range in size from a few cms to almost a meter in length and are amongst the most toxic vertebrates on the planet - only the golden toad poison dart frog is considered more lethal. The toxins are mostly concentrated in the liver and viscera and are obtained from dinoflagellates the puffer ingests. In Japan, the eating of fugu a pufferfish is widespread.
In lieu of escape, pufferfish use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water and even air when necessary to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less palatable. Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1, times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.