Category: Sea Life

The pufferfish, also known as the blowfish, swellfish, balloonfish, globefish or fugu, as well as several other names, is believed to be the second-most poisonous vertebrate in the world. He comes in second behind the golden poison frog. The pufferfish is a fierce hunter, and there are at least 120 species of this fish known to man.

Pufferfish (family Diodontidae or Porcupinefish)

Pufferfish (family Diodontidae or Porcupinefish)

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Actinopterygii

Order - Tetraodontiformes

Family - Tetraodontidae and Diodontidae

Common Names - Collectively known as Blowfish, Balloonfish, Swellfish, Globefish, Puffer, Bubblefish, Toadfish, Toadie, Honey Toad, Sugar Toad or Sea Squab. Certain species are eaten in Japan and called "Fugu". They must be specially prepared to avoid the poisonous parts being eaten. There are two families of fish often called "pufferfish". The Tetraodontidae have four teeth fused into a beak, and spines that are short, thin and mostly hidden so they appear smooth. The Diodontidae have two fused teeth, and are also called "porcupinefish" because they have larger exposed spines.


The pufferfish lives mostly in salt water and ocean waters, however, 29 species of this fish prefer fresh water. The pufferfish can be found across the globe. This fish is a very slow moving fish and can appear enticing to predators. However, when provoked, the pufferfish fills up with water to make it appear larger and more intimidating. The porcupinefish can also stab its foe with its spines. If all else fails, many species of pufferfish are highly poisonouse, meaning that any animal that tries to consume them would likely get seriously sick or killed. The pufferfish is usually a small to medium sized fish; however some species can reach lengths of up to 39 inches.


The pufferfish lays eggs that hatch within four days. The baby pufferfish must eat within a few days, and it quickly becomes a talented and skilled hunter.


The pufferfish is poisonous to humans and most water-going creatures. It is a slow-moving fish, and this slowness can cause would-be predators to attack the pufferfish. When provoked, the pufferfish fills up with water like a balloon, hence its nickname of balloonfish. It then attacks predators or its own prey with its poisonous spines.


The first written record of the pufferfish was made in 1832. It is believed that there are approximately 120 species of pufferfish, and these can be found across the world. Most of these species inhabit large bodies of saltwater, but approximately 29 species are found in fresh waters.

Present status

The pufferfish is in no danger of extinction at this time, and it is not on any endangered or sensitive species lists. Many countries have placed strict rules on import and export of these fish.