White-spotted Puffer, Arothron Hispidus

The white-spotted puffer is found around coral reefs, sea grass, tide pools, estuaries, and lagoons. In the South-East Atlantic Ocean, Indo-Pacific Ocean, Red Sea, Japan, Hawaiian Islands, and also off the southern coast of California at a depth of up to 115 feet.

The adult is semi-aggressive, territorial, and nocturnal, hiding during the day and feeding at night. When threatened, this fish will puff up to deter predators. The body of this puffer is covered in a poisonous mucus and can be fatal to humans if consumed.

The white-spotted puffer will grow to around 18 inches in length and weigh about 4 lbs. The body is light grey, covered in small white spots, also having white and dark grey lines around each eye, and pectoral fins. The pattern on this species has given it an alternative name: the stars and stripes puffer.

This puffer will feed on sponges, coral, algae, worms, sea urchin, crab, krill, silverside, and other smaller fish. By feeding on crab, coral, and other hard prey, it will keep the teeth from overgrowing, which can become harmful to the fish.

The white-spotted puffer will build the nest on the sea floor. The nest is well guarded from predators, but when hatched the planktonic larvae often get caught in the sea current and are swept far from the nest. The larvae are prey to many types of fish.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Tetraodontidae

Image Caption: White-spotted Puffer at the Prague Sea Aquarium in Czech Republic. Credit: Karelj/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)