Body inflatable. When not inflated, elongated and round dorsally with flat belly, tapering towards caudal fin. Dorsal and anal fins small, posteriorly in position. Origin of dorsal fin slightly in front of anal fin origin. Caudal fin truncated. Pectoral fin rounded with wide base. Head round with blunt snout. Mouth small and terminal with conspicuous lips, covered with short papilllae. Two large teeth in each jaw fused to form beak-like shape. Elongated eyes, dorso-lateral in position, extending slightly above profile contour. No scales. Two branched lateral lines.
back brown-grey to green-olive with small interwoven olive-grey dots. A longitudinal series of yellow to olive-green dots separate the back from the white belly.
common 5-9 cm (max. 11 cm). (A single, exceptionally large specimen of 185 mm TL was collected in Haifa Bay, Israel).
Lagocephalus spp.: caudal fin lunated.
Spoeroides pachygaster: smooth skin.
Chilomycterus spilostylus: three-rooted spines fixed in erect position.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Capable of very rapid inflation when threatened or taken out of the water. Feeds on small benthic invertebrates. Eggs and larvae planktonic. Can be kept relatively easily in aquarium. Some internal organs are toxic.
shallow sandy shores often covered with seagrass.