Valentinni’s Sharpnose Puffer, Canthigaster valentini

Image Credit: Jenny Huang/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Valentinni’s sharpnose puffer (sometimes called Valentin’s sharpnose puffer) is found in shallow lagoons and coastal reefs from 3 – 150 feet in depth. Native to the Indo-Pacific and Indian Oceans around Durban, South Africa, Tuamoto Islands, Japan, Lord Howe Islands and Northern Australia.

The male of this species is very territorial and often fights with other fish of the same species. Schools of up to 100 or more will contain roughly 5 percent of another species of filefish, that will mimic the sharpnose to protect itself from predators.

The meat of this sharpnose puffer is highly toxic to eat.

The valentinni’s sharpnose puffer has four black stripes that saddle the back. The head is bluish-grey with bluish-grey speckles covering the white body. A rainbow colored streak sets just behind the eyes and the tail fin has a yellow tint. It can grow up to 4.5 inches in length.

The main diet of this fish is red or green algae, but will also feed on tunicates, mollusks, and small coral.

The male will spawn each day with a different female. The nest itself is left unguarded but the female protects the territory around the nest. When in courtship the female has a swollen abdomen and will peck at the substrate to build a nest for egg laying. The female will press her abdomen against the newly formed nest and the male will lay his body across her tail for several seconds. After the male swims away, the female will swish her tail rapidly over the nest to ensure fertilization and to embed the eggs deep into the nest.

Only territorial males will spawn, other males do not interfere with the breeding process. The eggs are adhesive, yellow, orange, or amber in color.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Tetraodontidae