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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 7:10 EDT

Map Puffer, Arothron mappa

Image Caption: Map Puffer taken at Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Credit: Jens Petersen/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The map puffer is found in lagoons, and sheltered seaweed reefs, usually along deep drop offs where it can find shelter from predators. It is native to the Indo-Pacific in areas including East Africa, South Africa, Natal, Samoa, Ryukyus, Japan, New Caledonia, and Queensland, Australia.

The map puffer has an oval shaped body that is covered in small spines and can grow to two feet or more in length. It is gray and covered with black patterns similar to a map, giving it its name. The dorsal fin has 11 – 12 soft rays, and the anal fin has 10 – 11 soft rays, with neither fin having spines. Like most puffer fish the map puffer will take in water to expand its body when stressed and the flesh is poisonous to humans if eaten.

The map puffer is a night predator feeding on clams, squid, krill, and other smaller fish. It will also consume algae, coral, sponges, and hard shelled prey for keeping the teeth worn down. If hungry, it will also feed on vegetation.

Spawning habits of the map puffer have not been observed. The only known fact is this fish scatters the eggs.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Tetraodontidae

Map Puffer Arothron mappa