Pufferfishes


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Pufferfishes or puffers are members of the Tetraodontidae family. They are found in tropical and subtropical areas of Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Their jaws are modified to form a beak of 2 pairs of heavy and powerful teeth. They have the ability to inflate the ventral portion of their stomachs with either air or water as a deterrent to predators. Most species accumulate Tetrodotoxin poison through their diet, which is a non-protein, organic compound, known to be one of the strongest marine toxins and being 1200 times more toxic than cyanide. The viscera, skin, and blood of most species are poisonous. Some species have the ability to excrete poison from their skin and some even have poisonous flesh.

Pufferfishes occur most frequently in shallow inshore waters, sometimes entering brackish and fresh waters. They are often found alone and seems to eat anything.

There are 26 genera and about 190 species of pufferfishes worldwide. About 32 species are found in Malaysia waters.


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Scientific Name: Arothron immaculatus  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
English Name: Immaculate Puffer, Immaculate Blow Fish, Blackedged Blaasop
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Bersih
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าหางไหม้ (Plā pạkpêā h̄āng h̄ịm̂)
Main Identification Features: Body covered with prickles. No longitudinal dark stripes at the side of body. Caudal fin yellowish with dark rim.
Size: Maximum 30 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.








Scientific Name: Arothron mappa  (Lesson, 1831)
English Name: Map Puffer, Scribbled Pufferfish, Map Blaasop
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Corak
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าลายแผนที่ (Plā pạkpêā lāy p̄hænthī̀)
Main Identification Features: Fine lines radiating from the eye. Black reticulations below pectoral fin. Black blotch at the side of belly below the pectoral fin.
Size: Maximum 65 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Arothron stellatus  (Anonymous, 1798)
English Name: Stellate Puffer, Starry Pufferfish, Black Lined Pufferfish, Diagonal Banded Toadfish
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Bintang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าก้นดำ (Plā pạkpêā k̂n dả)
Main Identification Features: Juveniles with small black spots and dark stripes that become spots with growth. Dark blotches around the bases of the pectoral fin. Adults with or without spots on fin.
Size: Maximum 120 cm total length, commonly to about 55 cm.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Lagocephalus guentheri  Miranda Ribeiro, 1915
English Name: Diamondback Puffer
Local Malay Name: Buntal, Buntal Pisang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้า (Plā pạkpêā)
Main Identification Features: Caudal fin slightly lunate. Spinule patch on the back does not reach the dorsal-fin origin. The dorsal side of the body brown with several dark bands crossing over the back; the first band between the eyes, the second above the gill opening, the third above the posterior part of the pectoral fin, the fourth encircling the dorsal-fin base, and a couple of small dark markings on the dorsal side of the caudal peduncle.
Size: Maximum 26.0 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.









Scientific Name: Lagocephalus lunaris  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
English Name: Lunartail Puffer
Local Malay Name: Buntal Kerisi, Buntal Pisang Kasar
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าแถบเงินหลังหนาม (Plā pạkpêā t̄hæb ngein h̄lạng h̄nām), ปลาปักเป้าเต็ม (Plā pạkpêā tĕm)
Main Identification Features: Spinules on back extending from nape to caudal peduncle. Caudal fin is lunate.
Size: Maximum 45 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Lagocephalus spadiceus  (Richardson, 1845)
English Name: Half-smooth Golden Pufferfish
Local Malay Name: Buntal Kerisi, Buntal Pisang Muda
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าแถบเงินหลังหนาม (Plā pạkpêā t̄hæb ngein h̄lạng h̄nām), ปลาปักเป้าครึ่ง (Plā pạkpêā khrụ̀ng)
Main Identification Features: The dorsal two-thirds of the caudal fin are dark yellow and the ventral one-third is white.
Size: Maximum 43.1 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Lagocephalus suezensis  Clark & Gohar, 1953
English Name: Pufferfish
Local Malay Name: Buntal
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้า (Plā pạkpêā)
Main Identification Features: Spinules extending dorsally to origin of the dorsal fin. Caudal fin is lunate. Spots are found irregularly shaped of brown to grey in various sizes dorsally.
Size: Maximum 18 cm total length.
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Other Lagocephalus species in the Indo-Pacific area:
Lagocephalus sceleratus (Gmelin, 1789) Silver-cheeked toad fish - Grey to greenish colour with regular black spots above; dorsal and ventral small spinules extending dorsally to origin of the dorsal fin. The base of pectoral fin is black. Caudal fin is lunate.
Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758), the Oceanic puffer fish - Colour is dark blue above with no spots. Pectoral, dorsal and anal fins are dark.




Scientific Name: Tetraodon fluviatilis  Hamilton, 1822
English Name: Green Pufferfish
Local Malay Name: Ikan Buntal Gigi Hijau, Buntal Mas
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าเขียว (Plā pạkpêā k̄heīyw)
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Tetraodon nigroviridis  Marion de Procé, 1822
English Name: Spotted Green Pufferfish
Local Malay Name: Ikan Buntal Gigi Kupang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้าเขียวประดำ (Plā pạkpêā k̄heīyw pra dả)
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.





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