Fish have been on planet earth for more than 500 million years, and their origin is more ancient than dinosaurs. There are more than 25,000 fish species and the Puffer Fish is one of the awesome fish species on this planet. One of the facts about the puffer fish for which it is best known is its ability to inflate – and because it is often thought to be poisonous.
The puffer fish actually inflates as a defensive mechanism and there is no limit to the number of times that it can inflate and deflate. Indeed, the puffer fish continues to breathe even while inflated. They take in oxygen through the gills on the side of their bodies. However, they are only able to travel at half their normal speed once they are fully inflated.
However, when the fish is inflated its oxygen consumption is five times higher than normal and it can take more than five hours for them to return to their normal levels.
Puffer fish are also known as blowfish, fugu, swellfish and globefish.
Facts about the Puffer Fish
- There are more than 120 species of pufferfish worldwide. Most of them are marine-water fish but there are 40 types of puffer fish found in brackish waters, a mix between salt and freshwater, and 29 species are found in freshwater.
2. The smallest species of pufferfish is less than 1 inch in length when fully grown.
3. The largest species in pufferfish can grow more than 2 feet in length when fully grown.
4. Pufferfish come in a wide variety of different colors with many different markings.
5. Puffer fish mostly eat invertebrates using their beak. The puffer fish beak is a combination of 4 teeth that have been fused together. They only eat meat.
6. Puffer fish do not have scales. Instead, they have thick and rough skin to help protect against predators. Some puffer fish also have spikes on their skin that stick out when they swell up which is even more useful against predators.
7. The main feature of the puffer fish is that they are able to ingest large amounts of water and air which can increase their body shapes and size.
8. When the puffer fish is fully “puffed” it can be on average 3 times its normal size.
9. Most puffer fish contain a toxin called “Tetrodotoxin”. This toxin is extremely deadly to other sea creatures and is also deadly to humans. There is enough poison inside a large puffer fish to kill up to 30 adult humans and there is no known antidote. Tetrodotoxin is up to 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide. Sharks are the only species that are quite immune to the toxin.
10. They are one of the very few kinds of fish that are able to blink or close their eyes. They also have excellent eyesight.
11. The white spotted puffer fish has the ability to build nests at the bottom of the ocean.
12. The green spotted Puffer, pig-nose puffer and bronze pufferfish can be kept as pets in the home.
13. Puffer fish is served as a delicacy in Japan and several other countries. In order to cook puffer fish chefs must have licenses as well as professional training to remove the toxin from the fish before they serve them.
14. Puffer fish give birth in the shallow water.
15. They are usually found in warm ocean water; however there are 30 different species of puffer that live in fresh water.
16. They have a slow and clumsy style of swimming which makes it very easy for predators to catch them.
17. The more colorful the puffer fish, the more poisonous it will be.
19. Fugu sashimi is the puffer fish that is consumed in Japan. It is generally eaten at a specific time of the year and on very special occasions. In many Western countries, fugu is illegal.
20. One puffer fish contains enough toxin to kill 30 humans.
21. The teeth of a puffer fish never stop growing. This is because they eat hard foods. So if you have one in your fishtank at home make sure that you provide it with food that has hard shells.
22. The average life span of the puffer fish is 10 years.
23. Puffer fish mature sexually at the age of five. Spawning occurs after a male slowly pushes a female to the surface of the water or joins females already at the surface. The spherical eggs formed normally hatch after four days.
24. The most dangerous part of this fish is its liver.
25. Unsurprisingly, the most elastic part of the puffer fish’s body is its stomach.
26. The largest puffer fish is the stellate puffer fish. The smallest puffer fish is the dwarf puffer fish.
27. The puffer fish has two sets of skeletons.
Like so many of our sea creatures, the puffer fish is vulnerable to overfishing as well as ocean pollution and the loss of its natural habitat. Japan regularly conducts breeding tests and these have been quite successful.