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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Star Pufferfish Arothron stellatus

Compared with most other pufferfish, the star pufferfish is a relative giant. Its black-spotted skin is covered in small prickles and, if threatened, it will swallow water and swell up to an even larger size. At night, it searches out hard-shelled reef invertebrates and crushes them with powerful jaws that have fused, beaklike teeth.

Pufferfish, Also Known As Fugu

Pufferfish produce tetrodotoxin, a lethal poison that is stronger than cyanide and for which there is currently no antidote. In spite of this, these fish are eaten in Japan as a delicacy called “fugu.” The poison is in the skin and some of the internal organs, and only licensed chefs, who have been specially trained, are permitted to prepare this dish. Pufferfish from the genus Takifugu are considered to be the best eating. A few people die every year from eating fugu, and the Emperor of Japan is officially barred from eating this delicacy for his own protection.

Star Pufferfishzoom image
  • Order Tetradontiformes
  • Length Up to 4 ft (1.2 m)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 10–200 ft (3–60 m)
  • Distribution Tropical reefs in Indian Ocean and south Pacific
Star Pufferfish habitat mapzoom image