Grass Puffer, Takifugu niphobles

The Grass Puffer (Takifugu niphobles) is a species of fish belonging to the Tetraodontidae family. It can be found in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It can often be caught off beaches, docks, and piers utilizing a variety of baits such as worms, shrimp, Sea Lice, or cut fish. They are popular for children to catch and possibly in the aquarium trade, but cannot be consumed due to the fatal tetrodotoxin which can cause heart problems, kidney failure, and a coma that can be mistaken for death. The puffer fish is prepared as fugu by chefs with a Fugu License. The grass puffer is a common fish caught within Japan, but it inedible unless the toxin bearing organ is removed.

This puffer fish exhibits unique spawning behavior. Large numbers of fish aggregate to coastal spawning beds several hours before high tide during the spring tide. In order to observe the environmental and physiological regulation of this semilunar-synchronized spawning rhythm, the aggregating and spawning behaviors of this grass puffer were observed in the field, and in an aquarium without the tidal changes. The fish aggregated to a spawning bed in the rising tidal phases both in the morning and evening during the spring tide, and several days after the spring tide. Spawning took place on several days when large numbers of fish aggregated to the spawning bed.

Image Caption: Grass puffer. Credit: OpenCage/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)