| Ecological Descriptors
|S, Co, R
Although confused by some with Pufferfish (Tetrodontidae [="four teeth"]), Porcupinefish (Diodontidae [="two teeth"]), differ in their beak-like teeth are fully fused, lacking a noticable groove and have obvious spines on the body. Both families have the ability to enlarge themselves as a predator deterrent.
Adult: Olive to yellow/ brown. May have more than 1 dark patch on back. Black spots on body and tail (cf Webb Burrfish, C. antillarum). dark patch above each pectoral fin. At least 1 dark patch centred on rear body. Iris gold with a circle of black dots around it. Pupil with bright green flecks. Short spines on head and body alwats erect. Tentacle over each eye.
Juvenile: When less than 2cm (3/4"). Bright yellow body and white spots ringed with black over body.
Adults are found in seagrasses, but usually usually on or near coral reefs to depths of 25 m. Its maximum size is 38 cm, but the average size is 25 cm. Juveniles are commonly preyed upon by large, pelagic predators such as tunas and billfishes. Adults feed on gastropods, hermit crabs, isopods, and to a small extent, shrimps.
Dioecious reproduction, meaning separate sexes and external fertilization, eggs and sperm are released in the open water. Fertilized eggs float with currents becoming of the zooplankton, some of which are fed upon. For this reason, they are referred to as pelagic spawners. Once hatched, juveniles too pass through a pelagic phase. Referred to as a non-guarder as there is no parental care.
(C) Jack Randall