Species encyclopedia

Black-spotted Puffer

Arothron nigropunctatus


This species’ colours can vary from yellow to dark blue. The yellow individuals were long considered to be a separate species: the golden pufferfish, Arothron citrinellus.

The black-spotted puffer enjoys a varied diet of molluscs, crustaceans, coral polyps, sponges and algae.

Defense system

It uses its powerful beak to easily break open the shells and exoskeletons of its prey. At night, it often rests on the peaks of sponges and coral. All pufferfish contain a toxin (tetrodotoxin) in their skin, their viscera and their reproductive glands. It comes from bacteria in their food.

In addition to their toxicity, pufferfish have another defence mechanism. To scare off predators, they swallow water, filling up their stomach, which stretches significantly, as does their skin. Once they are puffed up, they look much more intimidating and would be hard for a predator to swallow.

Whether you are diving or simply looking through the glass of an aquarium, it is not recommended for you to try to frighten pufferfish in the hopes of watching them inflate. That process wears them out, and the stress that it causes can even lead to their death.

Indo-Pacific area


Species encyclopedia

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