The porcupine puffer fish is known by a number of various names; such as globefish, blowfish, balloonfish, toadfish,
toado, swellfish, fugu, botete, fahaka, and tinga.
is Their Classification?
The porcupine puffer is classified under the family Diodontidae and genus Diodon. Also, the puffer's scentific
name is Diodon holacanthus.
Are They Found?
The puffer is found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans. In these oceans, puffers live among the coral rock in
shallow caves or crevices, and are more likely to be seen at night, as they are nocturnal foragers.
Are Some Characteristics of Their Appearence?
The puffer fish grows to a maximum length of twelve inches and is a pale brown color. It has black or brown spots
scattered on it's body and a fan-like dorsal fin. The puffer also has plate-sheath teeth that are solid and spines that
are laid down, when it is not inflated.
What Do Puffer Fish Eat?
In the ocean, the porcupine puffer feeds on molluscs (clams and squid) and echinoderms (long-spined sea urchin).
In a tank, the puffer can eat live or frozen squid, shrimp, mussels, and all kinds of chopped up fish.
Do They Reproduce?
Early in the morning, one male and one female swim to the surface where eggs and sperm are released leading to be
the eggs fertilized. Four days later, the eggs hatch releasing a round-bodied larvae. After three months, the larvae
has transformed into a small porcupine fish.
Are These Puffer Fish Poisonous?
Yes, the porcupine puffer has a strong nerve poison called tetradotoxin. The poison is found in their skin, intestines,
gonads, and liver. Although, research has shown that tetradotoxin does not affect other fish, it does affect humans.
Fugu is the flesh or musculature of the puffer, this is very edible and very popular in Japan. Although, this fugu must
be cut by a trained cook or the poison can be accidentially ingested.
Are Some Symptoms Of Tetradotoxin Poisoning?
The symptoms of this poisoning include a tingling sensation in the lips and tongue, which spread into the limbs and
eventually delevops into numbness. Also, respiratory distress is caused by tetradotoxin, which leads to a sixty
percent fatality rate within twenty-four hours.
Are There Any Treatments For This Poisoning?
Unfortunately, there are no special treatments or antidotes for tetradotoxin poisoning. However, if someone is believed to have ingested tetradotoxin they should induce vomiting (immediately) and afterwards be given antihistaminic drugs.
Where to Purchase Puffers
What Are Some Tank Requirements
More Information About Tetradotoxin
1. Halstead, Bruce W. Dangerous Marine Animals. Centreville, Maryland: Cornell Maritime Press,1995: 226-8.
2. Thresher, Ronald E. Reef Fish. St. Petersburg, Florida: Palmetto Publishing Company. 1980:129-130.
3. Puffer Project
4. Unusual Fish
5. Fish Images
6. UK HGMP Resource Centre
7. Blowfish and Trade