Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Diodontidae

Genus: Diodon

Species: D. liturosus

Physical Description

The Black-blotched porcupinefish is a medium-sized fish which grows up to 65 cm (26 in), but the average size most likely to be observed is 45 cm (18 in). Its body is elongated with a spherical head with big round protruding eyes and a large mouth that is rarely closed. The pectoral fins are large, the pelvic fins are absent, the anal and dorsal fins are close to the caudal peduncle. The latter move simultaneously during swimming. All fins are a uniform tint of white or yellowish without any spotting. The skin is smooth and firm, the scales are modified into spines directed towards the back. The body coloration is light brown to sandy-yellow with dark blotches circled with a white line and pale ventral surface.


Inhabits reef edges and slopes Hides in caves and ledges during the day and forages at night Also found below plate-corals during the day and often deep, ranging to at least 40 meters depth. Juveniles occur in lagoons and estuaries Solitary. Feeds on crustaceans and mollusks. In case of danger, the porcupinefish can inflate itself by swallowing water to deter the potential predator with its larger volume and it can raise its spines defensively. The porcupinefish concentrates a poison, called tetrodotoxin, in certain parts of its body such as the liver, skin, gonads and the viscera. Tetrodotoxin is a powerful neurotoxin. This defensive system constitutes an additional device to dissuade the potential predators.

Habitat and Distribution

The Black-blotched porcupinefish is found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific area from eastern coasts of Africa to Japan, the Society Islands and Western Australia, and also the southeast of the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of South Africa. Adults favour lagoons, top reefs and seaward coral or rocky reefs from one to 90 m depth, but it’s usually met between 15 and 30 m.