Ryan Photographic - Tetraodontidae - Pufferfishes


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Family Tetraodontidae

The family tetraodontidae consists of mainly estuarine and marine species. Currently around 120 species in 19 genera are recognized. The family name stems from the presence of only four teeth in the their jaw - two up, two down and fused to form a very powerful crushing and/or shearing tool. 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. Undoubtedly more of a status symbol than a real delicacy, they can only be prepared by licensed fugu chefs. The farming of fugu has diminished the toxicity of many of the fish on the market.

Puffers obtain their common name because of their ability to ingest water in high volumes - thereby making them swell (hence another common name of swellfish). This makes them difficult to grasp and even more difficult to swallow.

It is a little weird to ascribe personality to a fish - but I'm prepared to go out on a limb here and say that puffers have "personality". I kept a couple of small puffers in an estuarine fish tank when I lived in Fiji. Whenever the little guys saw me coming they would come to the surface and attempt to spit water at me until I gave them food. Diving in the Sea of Cortez I had the company of the longnose puffer pictured below. He (or she) kept me company for the entire dive. I am well aware that he/she was probably looking out for small crustaceans that I may have spooked but it was still a behavior that fits in the "personality" category.

 

Arothron hispidus White-spotted puffer

Arothron hispidus White-spotted puffer, Matamanoa, Fiji

Arothron hispidus White-spotted puffer, head on, Matamanoa, Fiji

Arothron mappa Map puffer

Arothron mappa Map puffer, lateral, Matamanoa, Fiji

Arothron mappa Map puffer, head on, Matamanoa, Fiji. Note featherstar remains below eye.

Arothron mappa Map puffer, lateral 2, Matamanoa, Fiji

Arothron mappa, Map puffer, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat

FISH 7385 Arothron mappa, Map puffer, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat.

Arothron manilensis Striped puffer

Arothron manilensis, Striped puffer, Lembeh Straits

FISH 6597 Arothron manilensis, Striped puffer, Lembeh Straits

Arothron nigropunctatus Blackspotted puffer

Arothron nigropunctatus Blackspotted puffer

Arothron nigropunctatus Blackspotted puffer, apparently sleeping! Fiji

Arothron nigropunctatus Blackspotted puffer, Matamanoa, Fiji

Arothron stellatus Star puffer

Arothron stellatus Star puffer eye detail. Sulawesi.

Canthigaster bennetti Whitebelly toby

Canthigaster bennetti Whitebelly toby, Puerto Galera, Philippines

FISH 5043 Canthigaster bennetti Whitebelly toby, Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Canthigaster compressa Fingerprint toby

Canthigaster compressa Fingerprint toby Puerto Galera, Philippines

FISH 7134 Canthigaster compressa Fingerprint toby Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Canthigaster papua, Papuan puffer

Canthigaster papua

FISH 2518 Canthigaster papua, Papuan puffer, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Mike Agnew photo.

Canthigaster papua Papuan toby Raja Ampat

FISH 991 Canthigaster papua Papuan toby Raja Ampat.

Canthigaster punctatissima Spotted sharpnose puffer

Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer, Sea of Cortez

FISH 5067 Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer, Sea of Cortez.

Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer, Sea of Cortez

FISH 5137 Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer, Sea of Cortez.

Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer

FISH 5899 Canthigaster punctatissima, Spotted sharpnose puffer, Sea of Cortez.

Canthigaster rostrata, Sharpnose puffer

Canthigaster rostrata Sharpnose puffer

FISH 3292 Canthigaster rostrata, Sharpnose puffer, Glover's Reef, Belize.

Canthigaster rostrata Sharpnose puffer

FISH 2696 Canthigaster rostrata, Sharpnose puffer, Glover's Reef, Belize.

sharpnose puffer Belize

Canthigaster rostrata, Sharpnose puffer, Glover's Reef, Belize.

Canthigaster solandri Spotted toby

Canthigaster solandri

FISH 0129 Canthigaster solandri, Spotted toby, Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua.

Canthigaster valentini Black-saddled toby

Canthigaster valentini, Black-saddled toby, Fiji. It is mimicked by the mimic filefish.

Canthigaster valentini Black-saddled toby Kri Eco, Raja Ampat

FISH 8131 Canthigaster valentini Black-saddled toby Kri Eco, Raja Ampat.

Sphoeroides lobatus Longnose puffer

Sphoeroides lobatus, Longnose puffer,

FISH 5363 Sphoeroides lobatus, Longnose puffer, Sea of Cortez.

Sphoeroides spengleri Bandtail puffer

Sphoeroides spengleri Bandtail puffer, Roatan

FISH 0862 Sphoeroides spengleri Bandtail puffer, Roatan.

 

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