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Overview

Brief Summary

WhyReef - Lifestyle

The porcupinefish mostly spends it time alone in caves or underneath corals during the day, or swimming around the reef and hunting for food by night. It will only be found with another porcupinefish when it is mating. Then, a male and female can be found together, or a group of males with a single female.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: porcupinefish (English), pez erizo (Espanol)
 
Diodon hystrix Linnaeus, 1758


Spot-fin porcupinefish


Body robust, inflatable; head wide and blunt; no barbells on chin; eyes large; nasal organ a tentacle with 2 openings; teeth fused into a strong, parrot-like beak that lacks a front groove, large, opens widely at front; gill opening a vertical slit before pectoral base; pectorals large; fins without spines; no pelvic fins; dorsal 14-17; anal rays 14-16; pectoral rays 21-25; body and head covered with numerous long (> eye), erectible, 2-rooted, slender, round spines; 16-20 erectile spines in an approximate row from top of snout to dorsal fin; spines anteriorly at front of head shorter than longest spines posterior to pectoral fins; one or more small spines dorsally on tail base.

Light grey brown dorsally shading to white ventrally;  upper body and dorsal, anal and tail fins with small black spots.


Maximum length: 91 cm.

Adults inhabits coral or rocky reefs, juveniles occur in estuaries in our region.

Depth: 1-135 m.

Circumtropical distribution; southern California to the lower Gulf of California to Chile and all the oceanic islands.
   
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Biology

Occur in lagoon and seaward reefs to at least 50 m. Commonly seen in caves and holes in shallow reefs (Ref. 26938, 48637). Juveniles to about 20 cm are pelagic. Adults benthic (Ref. 30573). Solitary and nocturnal that feed on hard shelled invertebrates like sea urchins, gastropods, and hermit crabs (Ref. 9680). Generally common (Ref. 9710). Not normally used as food (Ref. 3717). Reached a life-span of 10 years and a length of 69 cm in the McGinty Aquarium (E. Dashiell, pers. comm 2004), suggesting a preliminary K=0.12.
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WhyReef - Fun Facts

Whereas most creatures drink water because they are thirsty, the porcupinefish gulps it down to protect itself from predators! When it feels threatened, it will take big swigs of water, which makes its body puff out like a balloon. After it has doubled or even tripled in size, with its spiky spines pointing outwards, most predators think twice about eating it.

As if that weren’t enough, the porcupinefish is also poisonous. Its skin and organs have a toxic chemical in them, made by bacteria that it eats. It will make other fish and people very sick if they eat it.

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Worldwide in warm waters; north to Massachusetts and Bermuda in western Atlantic (Robins and Ray 1986).

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Western Atlantic: Bermuda, Massachusetts (USA), and northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East), East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West), Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America), East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo), South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
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Circumtropical. Eastern Pacific: San Diego, California, USA to Chile, including the Galapagos Islands (Ref. 37955). Western Atlantic: Bermuda, Massachusetts (USA), and northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil (Ref. 7251). Eastern Atlantic: 30°N to 23°S (Ref. 6951). Western Indian Ocean: Red Sea to Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius (Ref. 33390). Mediterranean (Ref. 50345).
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Circumglobal in tropical and subtropical seas (including Red Sea, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Hawaiian Islands).
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 1 (S) - 135 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14 - 17; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 14 - 16
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Size

Length max (cm): 91.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 910 mm TL
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Max. size

91.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2850)); max. published weight: 2,800 g (Ref. 40637)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Occurs in lagoon and seaward reefs to at least 50 m. Juveniles pelagic to about 20 cm . A solitary and nocturnal fish that feeds on hard shelled invertebrates like sea urchin, gastropods, and hermit crabs (Ref. 9680). Generally common (Ref. 9710).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Body robust; teeth united in each jaw but without a central division; body covered with long, sharp spines, folded backwards when body not inflated; 16 to 20 spines between snout and dorsal fin; dorsal region of caudal peduncle spiny; back, flanks and fins light brown with numerous dark spots; belly spiny (Ref. 55763). Spines long. Body grayish tan, with small black spots, but no large dark blotches. Belly white, surrounded by dusky ring (Ref. 26938). About 20 spines in an approximate row between snout and dorsal fin (Ref. 13442).
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Type Information

Type for Diodon hystrix
Catalog Number: USNM 50854
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Preparation: Illustration
Locality: No Data. Indo-Pacific
  • Type: Jenkins, O. P. 1903. Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission. 22 (for 1902): 488, fig. 35.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

Comments: Coastal waters.

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Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 2 - 50 m (Ref. 9680), usually 3 - 20 m (Ref. 40849)
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Depth range based on 41 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 21 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 710
  Temperature range (°C): 6.257 - 29.336
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.099 - 39.739
  Salinity (PPS): 34.131 - 36.315
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.540 - 4.889
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 2.927
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.921 - 46.771

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 710

Temperature range (°C): 6.257 - 29.336

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.099 - 39.739

Salinity (PPS): 34.131 - 36.315

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.540 - 4.889

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 2.927

Silicate (umol/l): 0.921 - 46.771
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 2 - 50m.
From 2 to 50 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated. Occurs in lagoon and seaward reefs to at least 50 m. Juveniles pelagic to about 20 cm. A solitary and nocturnal fish that feeds on hard shelled invertebrates like sea urchin, gastropods, and hermit crabs (Ref. 9680). Generally common (Ref. 9710).
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Salinity: Marine, Brackish

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Reef (rock &/or coral), Rocks, Corals, Reef and soft bottom, Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom), Soft bottom (mud, sand,gravel, beach, estuary & mangrove), Mud, Sand & gravel, Estuary

FishBase Habitat: Reef Associated
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Occurs in lagoon and seaward reefs to at least 50 m. Commonly seen in caves and holes in shallow reefs (Ref. 26938, 48637, 58534). Juveniles to about 20 cm are pelagic. Adults benthic (Ref. 30573). A solitary and nocturnal fish that feeds on hard shelled invertebrates like sea urchins, gastropods, and hermit crabs (Ref. 9680). Mobile-invertebrate feeder (Ref. 57615, 57616).
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs), mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves, sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins, sessile crustacea, sessile worms, sessile molluscs
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Associations

WhyReef - Menu

The porcupinefish crunches and munches shrimps, crabs, and sea urchins with its hard, beak-like jaw. It will also snack on small fish. It only eats animals, so it is a carnivore.
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Diseases and Parasites

Lymphocystis Disease. Viral diseases
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Diodon hystrix

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 23
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Diodon hystrix

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACTCTTTATTTAGTATTCGGTGCCTGAGCCGGAATGGTTGGGACGGCGCTTAGCCTCCTGATCCGGGCCGAACTTAGTCAACCAGGGAGCCTCCTTGGAGACGACCAAATTTACAACGTCATTGTTACGGCACACGCTTTTGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATGCCAATTATGATTGGAGGTTTTGGAAACTGACTGGTACCGTTAATAATCGGCGCCCCTGACATGGCCTTCCCTCGAATGAATAATATGAGCTTTTGACTTCTTCCCCCTTCTTTCCTCCTTCTCCTCGCCTCTTCAGGGGTAGAAGCCGGTGCCGGCACAGGATGGACAGTCTACCCGCCACTCGCAGGTAACCTCGCACATGCAGGGGCCTCCGTAGACCTGACTATCTTTTCTCTCCACCTCGCGGGAGTTTCTTCTATTTTAGGAGCAATTAATTTTATTACAACAATTATCAACATAAAACCCCCCGCAATTTCCCAGTACCAAACCCCTCTTTTTGTCTGAGCTGTTCTAATCACTGCCGTCCTCTTACTTCTCTCCCTCCCAGTTCTTGCTGCAGGGATTACAATACTCCTCACCGACCGAAATCTCAACACCACCTTCTTTGACCCATCACGGGGCGGCCACCCCATCCTTTATCAACACCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Genomic DNA is available from 2 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Museum of Tropical Queensland
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Threats

Not Evaluated
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WhyReef - Threats

Some people will catch the porcupinefish when it is puffed-up to sell in souvenir shops. Not many people catch it for food, because it is poisonous, but some people do: in Japan, trained chefs will cut out most of its poison parts before it is served as a special dinner treat.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial; price category: unknown; price reliability:
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Wikipedia

Spotted Porcupinefish

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[edit]

The spot-fin porcupinefish is a medium sized fish which grows up to 91 cm, but the average size mostly observed is 40 cm.[1] 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.[2]

Distribution & habitat[edit]

The porcupinefish is found in all the tropical and subtropical waters of the world even the Mediterranean Sea.[3]

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.[4]

Feeding[edit]

The porcupinefish's diet is based on Sea urchins, gastropods and crustaceans.[5]

Behavior[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fishbase.org/summary/1022
  2. ^ GRIGNARD Jean-Christophe, MITEL Cédric, in : DORIS, 2/9/2012 : Diodon hystrix Linnaeus, 1758, http://doris.ffessm.fr/fiche2.asp?fiche_numero=2379
  3. ^ http://www.fishbase.org/summary/1022
  4. ^ http://www.fishbase.org/summary/1022
  5. ^ Leis, J.M., 2001. Diodontidae. Porcupine fishes (burrfishes). p. 3958-3965. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome.
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