Blackspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus

The Blackspotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) or the Dog-faced Puffer, is a demersal marine fish belonging to the family Tetraodontidae.

This species is of small size which achieves lengths of up to 33 centimeters. Its body is oval shaped, spherical and rather elongate. The skin isn’t covered with scales. The fish has no pelvic fin and no lateral line. The dorsal fin and the anal fin are small, symmetric and can be located at the end of the body. The snout is short with two pairs of nostrils and the mouth is terminal with four strong teeth.

The background coloration regarding this fish is variable and can be grey, light brown, bluish, dark bluish, bright yellow, orange-yellow and also occasionally bi-color like bluish and yellow. Some dark coloration occurs around the eyes and the mouth. The skin is sprinkled with dark blotches that vary in their size and their shape.

This species can be found in tropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the center islands of the Pacific Ocean, which means the Indo-Pacific area except for the Red Sea. It resides near the external reef slopes and lagoons from the surface to 25 meters deep.

It feeds on benthic invertebrates, algaes, sponges, coral like Acropora tips, crustaceans, and mollusks.

This pufferfish has a diurn activity, meaning its solitary and defends a territory.

It also secretes a violent poison, the tetrodotoxin, which protects it from voracious predators. In order to ward off potential enemies, they can inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air.

Image Caption: Picture of Black Spotted Puffer Fish, taken September 2006, Dayang, Malaysia. Credit: J.Petersen/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)