Slender-spined Porcupine Fish - Reptile Encounters

Slender-spined Porcupine Fish

Scientific name:

Diodon nichthemerus

Other names:

Slender-spined globefish, pufferfish (unrelated species), ‘Toadie’


Not listed

The Slender-spined porcupine fish can potentially grow to 30cm long, however it is more common to see a fish that is 15cm. They have a brown body with grey on top, white below and have dark vertical bands or spots on the sides of their body. Being a porcupine fish, they are covered in long white and yellow spines.

Slender-spined porcupine fish are carnivorous fish, and they feed on hard-shelled invertebrates that they find on the bottom of the ocean.

Slender-spined porcupine fish are found in shallow reefs, and waters that get to a depth of 70m. They prefer sheltered reefs such as under jetties and pylons and near weedy areas for protection.

TheSlender-spined porcupine fish is endemic to the temperate waters of southern Australia. They are found from New South Wales along the coast all the way to Western Australia, and all around Tasmania.

Slender-spined porcupine fish have a very famous defensive technique; they are able to use air or water to blow their whole body up and extend their spikes out of their sides, which makes them look too big and spikey to eat. Most commonly they would blow themselves up using water because they are in the water breathing through their gills, however if they were thrown in the air by a seal, they can protect themselves by sucking in air to inflate. They do need to be cautious with the number of times they blow up because they are only able to blow up 4 times in their lifetime as it takes so much energy, and they do not survive after the fourth.

Not only are Slender-spined porcupine fish dangerous because of their spines, but also because they are extremely poisonous. Puffer fish contains enough poison to kill up to 30 humans, to become poisoned by this fish you need to ingest it, therefore eating a Slender-spined porcupine fish is not a good idea. Some species are eaten in Japan, however the chefs are very skilled and know how to serve the part that is not deadly.
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