PUFFER THE MAGIC BLOWFISH


      Also Known As:
          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.

      What is Their Classification?
         The porcupine puffer is classified under the family Diodontidae and genus Diodon.  Also, the puffer's scentific
           name is Diodon holacanthus.

      Where 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.

        What 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.

        How And Why Do They "Puff Up"?
         The puffer fish inflates or "puffs up" by gulping air or water.  When they inflate, their spines stand erect causing this

           enlarged spiked fish to become either too big to eat or a painful meal.

        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.

        How 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.

        What 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.

                                                        Related Links:
                                                                    Where to Purchase Puffers

                                                                    What Are Some Tank Requirements
                                                                    More Information About Tetradotoxin

       Bibliography:

          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
                  http://projectpuffer.tripod.com/d_holacanthus.htm

             4.  Unusual Fish
                   http://www.seasky.org/sea2h.html

            5.  Fish Images
                  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/6176/peanut_2.JPG

             6.  UK HGMP Resource Centre
                   http://fugu.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk/fugu/pffp/fishtank.html

             7.  Blowfish and Trade
                  http://www.american.edu/projects/mandala/TED/BLOWFISH.HTM