Reef EcoTours.com

FIELD GUIDE LINKS:
Home
Fishes
Corals
Invertebrates
Algae
Info
Search
Tools
 
INTERNET LINKS:
Reef Base
Fish Base
Google
Magnetic Island Map
Magnetic Island Fauna List

Family Diodontidae - Porcupinefishes

Diodon hystrix - Porcupine Fish

 

A Porcupine fish in pale colouration, swimming in the open.

 

A Porcupine fish in dark colouration, resting in a cave.

 

Distinguishing features

A medium to large sized fish with large eyes, and a brown body covered with black dots and short spines. Nocturnally active - usually seen resting in caves during the day. Swims slowly using the dorsal and anal fins. Maximum size about 70cm.

Locations

Rare at Magnetic Island, but potentially found in most bays with coral reefs. Has been seen in Florence bay.

Habitat Preferences

Reef flats, slopes and crests.

Biology & Ecology

The Porcupine fish feeds at night on hard shelled invertebrates such as molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. They have exceptionally strong, chisel like teeth which they use to render the reef in search of food. There is little published information on their ecology, although they are well known for the poison (tetrodotoxin) contained in their skin and internal organs, which has caused many human fatalities.

DANGEROUS: The flesh of this fish is poisonous and should never be eaten. The spines are also poisonous, and the teeth are also very powerful and capable of severing fingers and toes, so care should be taken if handling this fish.

First Aid - Ingestion:

First Aid - Spine wound:

Papers and articles

Mari Yotsu-Yamashita. 2001. Chemistry of pufferfish toxin. J. TOXICOL.—TOXIN REVIEWS, 20(1), 51–66 (2001) .

 


Reef EcoTours.com