Fish of the Week: Masked Puffer

Masked Pufferfish, Red Sea, Egypt

One fish that I found intriguing during a dive trip to the Red Sea was the Masked Puffer (Arothron diadematus). The black streak across its eyes reminds me of bandits featured in old films.

The Masked Puffer is a pufferfish in the Tetraodontidae family. It primarily lives in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It can grow to 11-12 inches. It is a solitary fish but it has been observed in schools during mating seasons.

Pufferfish are one of the most poisonous animals underwater. Most contain a poison called tetrodotoxin which can be 1200 times deadlier than cyanide. Puffers do not produce the toxin but the toxin accumulates in their body from a particular algae they consume.

Many Pufferfish can expand and inflate themselves several times when threatened to help ward off predators.

Destruction of coral reefs and pollution are a treat to their survival.

Additional images from our recent dive trip to Egypt can be found here.

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