The Porcupinefish is a type of balloonfish or blowfish. When it feels threatened, it can balloon up to three times its normal size by drawing water into its abdomen. It also has sharp spines that stick out when it is inflated, making it look like a balloon with spikes. There are approximately 20 spines in a row between the head and tail. As a result, adult Porcupinefish have few predators except for Sharks and Killer Whales.

Another defense mechanism is that most species of Porcupinefish are poisonous. Their internal organs contain a powerful neurotoxin - tetrodotoxin - that is 1,200 times more potent than cyanide. This poison seems to be produced by bacteria obtained from its diet on the reef, as Porcupinefish bred in captivity are not poisonous.

Porcupine fish are often confused with Pufferfish. They are closely related, but Pufferfish do not have spines on their bodies. Porcupinefish also inflate themselves differently than Pufferfish. Porcupinefish inflate by taking tiny gulps of water into their stomach until the body is fully extended. Pufferfish, on the other hand, have a special sac that they fill with water when inflating their bodies.

Strong beak-like jaws enable the Porcupinefish to eat shellfish like rock urchins, hermit crabs, clams, and oysters by crushing them and spitting out the shell pieces.

Divers love spotting Porcupinefish because they are so cute. Their large puppy-like eyes give them a friendly appearance, in spite of their sharp spines and poisonous flesh


This website is a loving tribute to our fish and other sea life comrades and the gorgeous colorful sea world they inhabit.