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 themselves 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
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Bersih
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.








Scientific Name: Arothron mappa   (Lesson, 1831)
English Name: Map Puffer
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Corak
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Arothron reticularis  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
English Name: Reticulated Pufferfish
Local Malay Name: Buntal Pasir Batik
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.






Scientific Name: Lagocephalus guentheri  Miranda Ribeiro, 1915
English Name: Diamondback Puffer
Local Malay Name: Buntal, Buntal Pisang
Main Diagnostic 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
Main Diagnostic 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
Main Diagnostic 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
Main Diagnostic 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
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
Remarks: Poisonous - Do not eat.