| Ecological Descriptors
|S, M, Man, Br
||Cru, Mol, Tun
Although confused by some with porcupinefish (Diodontidae [="two teeth"]), Pufferfish (Tetrodontidae [="four teeth"]) differ in their beak-like teeth are not bring fully fused, having a noticable groove (median suture) and lack obvious spines on the body. Both families have the ability to enlarge themselves as a predator deterrent.
Body oblong, thick and inflatable. Upper body dark brown with pale yellowish lines forming brown/ olive/ grey polygons. A pair of pale bars between eyes lower sides heavily spotted with black. Belly white to yellow.
Found predominantly in bays, tidal creeks, protected coastal waters, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps, and is confined to very shallow depths (usually <10m) over sandy and muddy bottoms. Rare on coral reefs. It utilizes mangrove roots for protection. While this species does not form schools, it is known to form large aggregations. When frightened, this species is known to dive into sandy substrate to take refuge. Juveniles prey mainly on gastropods, bivalves and brachyuran crabs-while adults consume the same prey items as juveniles, the diet gradually shifts to a bivalve and crab-dominant diet, supplemented by amphipods, hermit crabs, seagrasses, detritus, isopods, barnacles, tunicates and sipunculids. It tends to outcompets other members of the genus, however partitioning of food resources enables S. spengleri to coexist with S. testudineus. This is one of the species known to contain the toxin tetrodotoxin.
Spawns over the summer months. First maturation occurs at 10-13 cm.