Species encyclopedia

White-spotted Puffer

Arothron hispidus


The white-spotted puffer is found on mixed seabeds (of coral, sand, detritus and sea grass) in estuaries, lakes and coastal reefs, between 1 and 50 m below the surface.

Its juveniles prefer shallow lagoons with underwater sea grass. The white-spotted puffer has a highly varied diet: algae, molluscs, sea stars, sponges, tunicates, coral, anemones, crabs, tubeworms and also detritus.

To reproduce, the male builds a nest in the sand where the female lays her eggs.

Defense system

All pufferfish contain a toxin (tetrodotoxin) in their skin, their viscera and their gonads. It comes from bacteria that they ingest in their food and that accumulates in their tissues.

In addition to their toxicity, pufferfish have another defence mechanism. To scare off predators, they swallow water, filling up their stomach, which can stretch significantly, as can their skin. Once they are puffed up, they look much more intimidating and would be hard for a predator to swallow. However, during that time, the puffer is barely able to swim or steer itself.

Fugu, a very popular fish amongst Japanese, is part of the pufferfish family.

Only State-certified Japanese cooks know how to prepare and serve this fish, which is sought after more for the danger it poses than for its delicacy.

It is estimated that 100 people die each year from eating fugu.

Indo-Pacific area


Species encyclopedia

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