Two-Stripe Puffer in Florida? Can it really be?

Images: 
IMG_4434_A.jpg

I chased down and shot photos of these two guys on the Duane off Key Largo on May 15, 2009 because they just didn't look like the normal small puffers that I have seen.  According to the book, they look an awfull lot like Two-Stripe Puffers, but they are not suppose to be that far North.  Has their range expanded?  Any other ideas?

Images are of two separate individuals.

 

it is the sharpnose puffer

Canthigaster rostrata, sharpnose puffer, common in Florida and the Caribbean- they do have two black stripes.

 Ben,  coralreeffish.com

I do not believe that this is a sharpnose...

These individuals do not have any of the normal blue ticking that is indicative of the sharpnose.  While I see why you would jump to that conclusion, the images do not resemble C. rostrata.  Also the number of spines in the dorsal fin is extremely a-typical for the sharpnose.

With the waters getting warming it seems like this species is migrating Northward.

I TAKE IT ALL BACK...

I was shown some (ok lots) of images of Two-Stripe Puffers and can finally see the distinguishing features.  I had made the mistake of using only a couple of old images to base my comparison which was not wise.

Thanks for making me re-look at this!!!

I do not believe that this is a sharpnose...

These individuals do not have any of the normal blue ticking that is indicative of the sharpnose.  While I see why you would jump to that conclusion, the images do not resemble C. rostrata.  Also the number of spines in the dorsal fin is extremely a-typical for the sharpnose.

With the waters getting warming it seems like this species is migrating Northward.

comment deleted

Never mind.

Mystery Puffers

Mike Olinits

These puffers are not sharp-nose puffers, they are 2-stripped puffers, however how did they get in Key Largo?  Possible Aquairum Release? or are the waters just warming up and the little critters are migrating north?  Ifanyone else spots them please take pics, water temps, and Location...

why twostripe?

Hi Mike,

I have the 3rd edition of Reef Fish Identification by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach. 

On page 382 it says the distinctive feature for a sharpnose is: "White to pale yellowish gold tail has dark boarders". 

On page 476 it says the distinctive feature for a twostripe is: "1. Two black stripes run from above and below the pectoral fin to tail.  2. Pointed snout has series of vertical line markings." Neither the sketch nor photo in the book show borders on the tail, altho I guess that may vary between individuals since it's not mentioned as a distinctive feature.

The stripes on the fish in the pictures do not appear to be starting above/below the pec fin to me, and I do not see any vertical lines on the snout.  I do see white tails with dark borders.

This makes me conclude the photos are of sharpnoses.  If you disagree, can you tell me where I'm going wrong?  What distinctive features are you using to identify the twostripes and what are you using as a reference?  If there is another exotic species in Florida, I'd like to know how to distinguish it from the native so I can keep track of it on future dives.

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