Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits bays, estuaries and protected coastal waters. Sold as `sea squab' in northern part of range. Feeds primarily on shellfish, occasionally on finfish. Reportedly non-toxic.
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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: Western Atlantic from Newfoundland to northeastern Florida (Robins and Ray 1986).

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Newfoundland to northeastern Florida
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Western Atlantic: Newfoundland in Canada to northeastern Florida in USA.
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Western Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 7
  • Shipp, R.L. 2003 Tetraodontidae. Puffers. p. 1988-2006. In K.E. Carpenter (ed.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. (Ref. 53033)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=53033&speccode=1181 External link.
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Size

Maximum size: 360 mm TL
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Max. size

36.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251))
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to 36 cm TL (male/unsexed).
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W.C., 1953; Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986.
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Diagnostic Description

Upper side grey or brown with poorly defined black spots and saddles. Belly yellow to white. Tiny jet-black pepper spots (about 1 mm in diameter) scattered over most of pigmented surface, particularly evident on cheeks. Lower sides with a row of black, elongate, bar-like markings. No lappets on head or body (Ref 53033).
  • Shipp, R.L. 2003 Tetraodontidae. Puffers. p. 1988-2006. In K.E. Carpenter (ed.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. (Ref. 53033)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=53033&speccode=1181 External link.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

Comments: Bays, estuaries, and protected coastal waters (Robins and Ray 1986).

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benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Found in bays, estuaries and coastal waters to depths of 10 m.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

demersal; brackish; marine; depth range 10 - 183 m (Ref. 5951)
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Depth range based on 1535 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 596 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 440
  Temperature range (°C): 0.153 - 25.874
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 21.571
  Salinity (PPS): 32.029 - 36.449
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.840 - 7.138
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 1.517
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 15.529

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 440

Temperature range (°C): 0.153 - 25.874

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 21.571

Salinity (PPS): 32.029 - 36.449

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.840 - 7.138

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 1.517

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 15.529
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Demersal; brackish; marine; depth range - 10 m. Inhabits bays, estuaries and protected coastal waters.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W.C., 1953; Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986.
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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

Inhabits bays, estuaries and protected coastal waters. Feeds primarily on shellfish, occasionally on finfish.
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Mainly shellfish, occasionally consumes finfish. Range: Western Atlantic: Newfoundland in Canada to northeastern Florida in USA.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W.C., 1953; Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds primarily on shellfish and, more rarely, finfish
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Reproduction

Puffers spawn close to the shore starting in May and early June through the summer. Eggs are about 0.9 mm in diameter, have many small oil globules, and are very sticky. Incubation takes 3 to 5 days at 20 °C. The larvae are about 2.4 mm long at hatching. In 3 days the mouth functions, and when they are 7 mm long the young fish show most of the diagnostic characters of the adults, and can inflate themselves.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W.C., 1953; Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sphoeroides maculatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 19
Species With Barcodes: 1
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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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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Wikipedia

Northern puffer

Northern puffer, Sphoeroides maculatus, is a species in the family Tetraodontidae, or pufferfishes.[1] They are commonly called sugar toads in the Chesapeake Bay region, where they are eaten as a delicacy.

Description[edit]

The northern puffer is a club-shaped fish with a gray, brown or olive back and a yellow or white belly.[2]

Adults have small spines covering the entire body with a tiny beak-like mouth. Its color is poorly defined black/dark green spots and saddles and a yellow to white belly. It has Tiny jet-black pepper spots (about 1 mm in diameter) scattered over most of pigmented surface, particularly evident on cheeks. Lower sides of the body have a row of black, elongate, bar-like markings. A small dorsal fin is set far back near the tail. Sphoeroides maculatus, like others in the puffer family, "puffs up" into a ball in self-defense by inhaling air or water into a special chamber near its stomach. The northern puffer usually grows to about 8 to 10 inches.

Habitat[edit]

Efdre L The northern puffer inhabits bays, estuaries and protected coastal waters.[3] It lives in temperate climates from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Newfoundland in Canada.

Is also found in the Mid-Atlantic from spring to fall.

Diet[edit]

The northern puffer feeds primarily on shellfish, and occasionally on finfish. Using its beak-like mouth it can extract shellfish from their shells and sometimes break the shells to obtain a meal.

Life cycle[edit]

Little is known about the life cycle of the northern puffer. They spawn from May through August in shallow, nearshore waters. The female lays adhesive eggs that attach to the sandy or muddy bottom, and the male guards the eggs until they hatch.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). Species of Sphoeroides in FishBase. June 2008 version.
  2. ^ Chesapeake Bay Program
  3. ^ Fish Base Northern Puffer
  4. ^ Chesapeake Bay Program
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