It is not so surprising, but many people call puffer fish ‘balloon fishes’. This is because of their ability to ingest water and air and then expand to several times their original size.
In fact, they can inflate their body size in an instant into the shape of a large spheroid ball.
Most of the 120 puffer fish species of Tetraodontidae exist in warm water oceanic environments. They are commonly found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.
Furthermore, they have four fused beak-like teeth which they use to eat shellfish, clams, and mussels. They are also known to feed on algae and small crustaceans.
One interesting fact is that puffer fish are poor swimmers. Thus, they use their unique inflating fish feature to scare their predators away.
Nonetheless, their biggest threat in their natural habitat comes from pollution and overfishing.
Puffer Fishes: Information on Reproduction
Male and female puffer fishes sexually mature and start to breed from five years old. The female releases several eggs in shallow water near to the shoreline.
Tiny young puffers lose their protection as they hatch from the puffer fish eggs. So, they must seek immediate shelter inside reef crevices.
Puffer Fish Habitat Facts
Some puffers can live in freshwater. Some of the species move from marine oceans to fresh water environments in the breeding season.
In fact, the largest of the species is the freshwater giant puffer. It measures around 60 centimeters in length.
Interesting Facts about Puffer Fishes
- Most of the Tetraodontidae species have an average life span up to ten (10) years.
- Fun facts about puffer fish – they usually have large eyes with excellent eyesight.
- The genus has thick skin without scales but some have spines.
- Most of the puffer fish species carry a toxin called tetrodotoxin. Scientists suggest the brighter the body coloration, the larger the quantity of toxin.
- The blowfish toxin is 1200 times stronger than cyanide and enough to kill 30 adult men.
- Balloon fish facts – Sharks are immune to their toxin. They eat them… but they are unaffected by the poison.
Pictures of Puffer Fish
The pictures (taken by scuba divers) show giant puffer fishes and other members of the species.
Note: The section on fish families has extra information about other marine life found in the shallow waters and coral islands.