Dogface Puffer

The Dogface Puffer, also known as the Black-spotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus), is a frequent inhabitant of coral reefs from East Africa to the central Pacific, including the warmer waters of Australia. The species is famous for its ability to swallow water (or air), causing the body to inflate several times its normal size into a spherical shape. Besides, a potent poison tetrodotoxin is produced in its body, particularly the liver and ovaries. The toxin blocks Na ions. The Dogface puffers feed on live corals, sponges, tunicates, and algae. It reaches the length of 25 cm. The species is highly variable in color from gray to yellow-orange with few to many black spots, sometimes all yellow.

Dogface Puffer
Dogface Puffer (Pterois volitans)
Photo by Larysa Johnston

Symptoms of pufferfish poisoning include sweating, low body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, tremors, and poor movement coordination. Respiration becomes difficult due to muscle paralysis which may result in death.

Dogface Puffer
Photo by Larysa Johnston

References

  1. Tropical Reef Fishes: Periplus Nature Guide. Gerald Allen
  2. Handbook of Natural Toxins: Food Poisoning. Anthony Tu (editor)



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