Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Spot-fin porcupinefish

Binomial name: Diodon hystrix, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The spot-fin porcupinefish (Diodon hystrix), also known as spotted porcupinefish, black-spotted porcupinefish or simply porcupinefish, is a member of the family Diodontidae.

Description

The spot-fin porcupinefish is a medium sized fish which grows up to 91 cm, but the average size mostly observed is 40 cm.

Its body is elongated with a spherical head with big round protruding eyes, a large mouth rarely closed.

The pectoral fins are large, the pelvic fins are absent, the anal and dorsal fins are close to the caudal peduncle. The latter move simultaneously during swimming.

The skin is smooth and firm, the scales are modified into spines.

The body coloration is beige to sandy-yellow marbled with dark blotches and dotted with numerous small black spots.

In case of danger, the porcupinefish can inflate itself by swallowing water to deter the potential predator with its larger volume and it can raise its spines.

The porcupinefish concentrates a poison, called tetrodotoxin, in certain parts of its body such as the liver, skin, gonads and the viscera. Tetrodotoxin is a powerful neurotoxin. This defensive system constitutes an additional device to dissuade the potential predators.

Distribution & habitat

The porcupinefish is found in all the tropical and subtropical waters of the world, including the Mediterranean Sea.

Juveniles are pelagic up to the time that they are about 20 cm in length. Adults favour lagoons, top reefs and seaward coral or rocky reefs from one to 50 m depth, sheltering under ledges or in caves during the day.

Feeding

The porcupinefish's diet is based on Sea urchins, gastropods and crustaceans.

Behavior

This fish is solitary, except during mating periods, it has a nocturnal activity with a maximal activity at sunset and sunrise.

Parasites

As most fish, the porcupinefish is infected by a variety of parasites. Spectacular parasites are the cysts of the larvae of the trypanorhynch cestode Molicola horridus, often found in great numbers in the liver. These parasites are not appetizing, but represent no danger to humans.

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Videos of Spot-fin porcupinefish

  • Spot-fin porcupinefish

    Spot-fin porcupinefish

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Actinopterygii
Order
Tetraodontiformes
Family
Diodontidae
Genus
Diodon
Species
Diodon hystrix

Range map of Diodon hystrix 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 and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.

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