33 photos - 16 species


 There are 25 genera with around 200 species.

The body shape of puffer fish differs greatly from the typical fish shape,

it has a rounded, compact shape, head and eyes are strongly developed.

The beak-like biting apparatus consists of teeth fused into ridges,

with two ridges at the top and two at the bottom.

Pufferfish can inflate themselves in case of danger

by a powerful musculature that jerks water from the oral cavity

into a ventral, sac-like expansion of the stomach.

This is intended to act as a deterrent to attackers.

The sizes vary depending on the species, e.g. the pea pufferfish grows

to 2 cm and the giant pufferfish can reach a length of 1.2 metres.

Arothron caeruleopunctatus

Blue-spotted pufferfish

 Maximum length: 80 cm

Depth: 5 - 40 metres

Blue spots on body and fins.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Arothron diadematus

Masked pufferfish

 Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 2 - 32 m

Dark eye mask, often solitary.

It is a slow swimmer that often rests on the bottom.

It can be seen in groups during spawning and reproduction.

Photo 1 Johnny: El Qesir Egypt

Photos 2 - 5 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Arothron hispidus

White-spotted pufferfish

 Maximum length: 50 cm

Depth: 2 - 50 m

Likes to rest on coral, sand or rubble during the day.

Solitary, not very shy.

White-spotted puffer fish are grey to green-brown, the back,

flanks and caudal fin are patterned with white dots and covered with small spines.

The Red Sea population has smaller but more spots.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photos 2 - 3 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Arothron manilensis

Narrow-lined pufferfish

Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 1 - 25 m

Beige to light brown colour and dark longitudinal stripes.

Found singly or in pairs on muddy sandy areas and slopes in lagoons,

bays, sheltered outer reefs and in seagrass.

Photos 1 - 2 Astrid: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Arothron mappa

Map pufferfish, Map puffer, Scribbled pufferfish or Kesho-fugu

 Maximum length: 50 cm

Depth: 2 - 30 m

Shy loner.

Active at night, often resting in caves during the day.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives

Arothron nigropunctatus

Black-spotted pufferfish or Dog-faced puffer

 Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 3 - 35 metres

The fish grow to a length of 33 centimetres and have a very variable colouring,

light and dark grey, brownish or yellow with a blue back or completely blue.

Some black spots are irregularly distributed over the body.

The black-spotted puffer fish feeds on coral polyps.

It also eats molluscs and crustaceans.

 Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives

Arothron reticularis

Reticulated pufferfish, Reticulated blowfish

or Reticulated toadfish


 Maximum length: 45 cm

Maximum depth: 1 - 30 m

All puffer fish have a tooth ridge at the top

and bottom of their mouth that grows back permanently

and is only permanently worn down by the right food.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Arothron stellatus

Stellate pufferfish, Starry puffer or Starry toadfish

 Maximum length: 1.2 m

Depth: 5 - 60 metres

The giant pufferfish, also known as the star pufferfish,

is the largest pufferfish with a maximum length of one metre.

The giant pufferfish is relatively rare.

Young giant pufferfish mainly live on sandy bottoms.

Older animals prefer clear lagoons - fringes - and outer reefs.

Giant puffer fish feed mainly on echinoderms

and other hard-shelled invertebrates such as snails, mussels and crustaceans.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photos 2 - 3 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Canthigaster bennetti

Bennett's sharpnose puffer

 Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 1 - 15 m

Upper half of body greenish, lower half of body white.

Numerous pink and blue spots on the body.

Some blue vertical stripes on the snout.

Bright blue lines around the eyes.

Black ocellus at the base of the dorsal fin.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Canthigaster coronata

Crowned toby

 Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 5 - 80 m

Cream-coloured body with 4 broad stripes on the back and blue dots.

Inhabits sheltered outer reefs and lagoons.

Photos 1 + 3 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photo 2 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Canthigaster margaritata

Pearl toby

 Maximum length: 12 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 m

Brown body with white-blue spots.

Found in lagoons, on reef tops and in outer reefs.

Found singly or in pairs.

Mimicked by the mimicry filefish (see filefish).

Photo 1 Johnny: El Qesir Egypt

Photo 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Canthigaster papua

Papuan toby

 Maximum length: 9 cm

Depth: 3 - 40 m

Fine light blue to greenish spots all over the body.

Some thin stripes on the back.

Orange snout.

Travelling singly or in pairs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines

Photo 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Canthigaster rostrata

Caribbean sharp-nose puffer

Maximum length: 11 cm

Depth: 1 - 15 metres

Pointed snout, radiating blue lines from the eye.

The upper part of the body is dark olive-brown in colour, while the lower part is white.

The head and body are coloured with blue dots and lines.

It is found in seagrass meadows where it likes to nibble on seagrass tips, but also on reefs.

Does not disdain a variety of invertebrates.

Not shy, allows slow approach.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Canthigaster valentini

Valentin's sharpnose puffer, Saddled puffer or Black saddled toby

 Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 1 - 20 m

Often found in pairs in shallow inner and outer reefs.

Eats algae and small invertebrates.

Male ( see photo ) with blue radial stripe around the eye.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Sphoeroides spengleri

Bandtail puffer

Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 1 - 12 metres

Their caudal fin has two dark bands and a row of dark spots

runs from the mouth to the caudal fin.

Their colouring can fade or darken to blend in with the background,

their mouth and head are dull.

Not shy, slow and careful approach is possible.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Photo 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Torquigener pleurogramma

Weeping toadfish or Blowie

 Maximum length: 38 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 metres

This puffer fish lives in sheltered areas such as lagoons,

near-shore areas and in river mouths.

The fish often lives in schools on sandy or muddy bottoms.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi