TETRAODONTIDAE
pufferfishes

  Torquigener flavimaculosus
Hardy and Randall, 1983

Relevant synonyms
None

Misidentification
None

Meristic formula
D, 9; A, 7-8; P, 15-16.

 photo : David Darom    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
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.

color : 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.

size : common 5-9 cm (max. 11 cm). (A single, exceptionally large specimen of 185 mm TL was collected in Haifa Bay, Israel).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • 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.

    habitat : shallow sandy shores often covered with seagrass.


  • 1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
    Haifa Bay, Israel, 1987.


    DISTRIBUTION
    Worldwide : Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, eastern Africa to Seychelles. Mediterranean : recorded in Haifa Bay, Israel, trawl at 20 m (Golani, 1987). A specimen was photographed in 2002 in Fethiye, Turkey (Bilecenoglu, pers. comm.).

    ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
    Very rare.

    speculated reasons for success :
    -


    MODE OF INTRODUCTION
    Via the Suez Canal.


    IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
    None.


    KEY REFERENCES

    • Bilecenoglu M., 2005. Observation on the burrowing behaviour of the Dwarf Blaasop, Torquigener flavimaculosus (Osteichthyes: Tetraodontidae) along the coast of Fethiye, Turkie. Zoology in the Middle East, 35: 29-34.
    • Golani D., 1987. The Red Sea pufferfish, Torquigener flavimaculosus Hardy and Randall 1983, a new Suez Canal migrant to the eastern Mediterranean. (Pisces: Tetraodontidae). Senckenbergiana Maritima, 19(5/6): 339-343.

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    Last update of the species sheet:
    2005

    ©ciesm 2002