Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Stellate puffer

Binomial name: Arothron stellatus, Anonymous in Bernard Germain de Lacépède, 1798

Arothron stellatus, also known as the stellate puffer, starry puffer, or starry toadfish is a demersal marine fish belonging to the family Tetraodontidae. It is found in shallow water in the Indo-Pacific region.

Description

Arothron stellatus is a medium sized fish which grows up to 120 cm length. Its body is oval shape, spherical and relatively elongated. The skin is not covered with scales but is prickly. The fish has no pelvic fin and no lateral line. The dorsal fin and the anal fin are small, symmetric and located at the rear end of the body. The head is large with a short snout which has two pairs of nostrils and the mouth is terminal with four strong teeth.

The background coloration goes from white to grey and the body is harmoniously dotted with black spots. The ventral area is usually more clear. The size of the spots is inversely proportional to the size of the fish, thus a young individual will have large spots and adults of maximal size will have small spots.

The juveniles have a yellowish body background coloration with dark stripes. The young adults still have stripes on the ventral area which will turn to spots later and also some recollection of yellow partially on the body.

Distribution and habitat

This species is found in tropical and subtropical waters from the Indian Ocean and Red Sea as far as Polynesia, southern Japan, the western, northern and eastern coasts of Australia and Lord Howe Island. It is a relatively uncommon species and lives close to external reef slopes and sheltered lagoons with clear water, but mainly in close proximity to sandy areas, at depths from the surface down to about 58 m.

Behavior

Arothron stellatus feeds on benthic invertebrates, sponges, algae, the polyps of corals such as Acropora, crustaceans and mollusks.

This pufferfish is diurnal. It is mainly solitary and defends a territory.

Potential danger

Arothron stellatus secretes a violent poison, the tetrodotoxin, which protect it from voracious predators. In order to ward off potential enemies, they can inflate their bodies by swallowing air or water.

Taxonomic synonyms

The World Register of Marine Species lists the following synonyms: -

  • Arothron aerostaticus (Jenyns, 1842)
  • Arothron alboreticulatus (Tanaka, 1908)
  • Arothron stellatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
  • Chelonodon stellaris (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) (misspelling)
  • Diodon asper Cuvier, 1818
  • Kanduka michiei Hora, 1925
  • Takifugu stellatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
  • Tetraodon aerostaticus Jenyns, 1842
  • Tetraodon aerostatious Jenyns, 1842 (misspelling)
  • Tetraodon alboreticulatus Tanaka, 1908
  • Tetraodon calamara Rüppell, 1829
  • Tetraodon lagocephalus var. stellatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
  • Tetraodon punctatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
  • Tetraodon stellatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
  • Tetraodon stellatus Anonymous, 1798
  • Tetraodon stellatus Shaw, 1804
  • Tetrodon aerostaticus Jenyns, 1842 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon lagocephalus stellatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon lagocephalus var. stellatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon punctatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon stellatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon stellatus Shaw, 1804 (misspelling)
  • Tetrodon stellatus Anonymous, 1798 (misspelling)

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Actinopterygii
Order
Tetraodontiformes
Family
Tetraodontidae
Genus
Arothron
Species
Arothron stellatus

Common names

  • English:
    • Star blaasop
    • Staring blow fish
    • Star puffer
    • Starry pufferfish
    • Starry toadfish
    • Stellate puffer
  • French:
    • Ballon Constellé
    • Ballon étoilé
    • Baudruche Zébrée
    • Poisson-ballon étoilé

Synonyms

  • Ovoides aerostaticus subspecies otteri, Gilbert Percy Whitley (1932)
  • Kanduka michiei, Hora (1925)
  • Tetraodon alboreticulatus, Shigeho Tanaka (1908)
  • Tetraodon amabilis, Francis de Laporte de Castelnau (1879)
  • Tetrodon staigeri, Francis de Laporte de Castelnau (1878)
  • Tetraodon aerostatious, Leonard Jenyns (1842)
  • Tetraodon calamara, Eduard Rüppel (1829)
  • Diodon asper, Georges-Frédéric Cuvier (1818)
  • Tetraodon stellatus, George Shaw (1804)
  • Chelonodon stellaris, Marcus Elieser Bloch & Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider (1801)
  • Takifugu stellatus, Marcus Elieser Bloch & Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider (1801)
  • Tetraodon punctatus, Marcus Elieser Bloch & Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider (1801)
  • Tetrodon lagocephalus variety stellatus, Marcus Elieser Bloch & Johann Gottlob Theaenus Schneider (1801)
  • Tetraodon stellatus, (Anonymous) (1798)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range map of Arothron stellatus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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