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Tetraodontidae
PUFFERS
Pufferfishes

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Sphoeroides lobatus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides lobatus
Sphoeroides rosenblatti
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides rosenblatti

Sphoeroides rosenblatti
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides rosenblatti
Sphoeroides trichocephalus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides trichocephalus

Sphoeroides rosenblatti
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides rosenblatti
Sphoeroides annulatus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Sphoeroides annulatus

Guentheridia
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Guentheridia
Guentheridia formosa
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Guentheridia formosa

Guentheridia formosa
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Guentheridia formosa
Guentheridia formosa
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Guentheridia formosa

Lagocephalus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Lagocephalus
Lagocephalus lagocephalus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Lagocephalus lagocephalus

Canthigaster
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Canthigaster
Canthigaster amboinensis
© Copyright John Rangall, 2006 · 0
Canthigaster amboinensis

Tetraodontidae
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Tetraodontidae
español

Overview
Main identification features
  • body bulky, inflatable
  • dorsal and anal finssmall, at rear
  • strong beak (4 plates)
  • no pelvics
FAMILY TETRAODONTIDAE

PUFFER-FISHES

The puffers or blowfishes and the related porcupinefishes (family Diodontidae) can inflate their body by swallowing water (or air if out of water). This adaptation no doubt is a deterrent to potential predators, although large sharks sometimes consume them. Puffers are further characterized by having tough scaleless skin (often with small spinules), a beak composed of 4 fused dental plates with a central suture, a slit-like gill opening in front of the pectoral fin base, no spines in the fins, a single short- based dorsal fin, a similar anal fin below, no pelvic fins, and no ribs.

They produce a powerful poison, tetraodotoxin, in their tissues, especially the liver and ovaries. Eating them can cause serious illness, frequently death. The degree of toxicity varies greatly depending on the species and also according to geographic area and season. However, some puffers are considered a great delicacy in Japan, where they are prepared by specially trained and licensed cooks. The diet of puffers consists of urchins, sponges, coral, starfishes, crabs, molluscs, worms, tunicates, and algae.

The family is distributed in all tropical and subtropical seas (also some freshwater species); they are frequently associated with soft-bottom habitats. Worldwide there are 25 genera with about 164 species. Sixteen species from five genera have been recorded from the tropical eastern Pacific; including one circumtropical, five Indo-Pacific and nine endemics. One genus is endemic to our region.


References
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Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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