Introducing our June Fish of the Month, the Guineafowl Puffer (Arothron meleagris)!
Survey Regions: The Guineafowl Puffer is found in throughout the tropical Pacific, including REEF's Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) region, Central Indo Pacific (CIP) region, South Pacific (SOP) region, and Indian Ocean and Red Sea (IORS) region, as well as Hawaii (HAW), where it is known as the Spotted Putter. Visit these links to view each region's database report for this species: TEP, CIP, SOP, IORS, and HAW.
Size: They grow to about 20 inches.
Identifying Features: Guineafowl Puffers are round and deep-bodied. They have two distinct color phases: black with numerous pale spots covering the body (pictured) or bright yellow with dark blotches. As a member of the pufferfish family, their skin does not have scales.
Fun Facts: Guineafowl Puffers have pronounced mouths with powerful, fused teeth, which they use to eat a variety of sessile (aka stationary) invertebrates, including sponges, soft coral, and their favorite meal, branching coral. Like some other pufferfish species, the Guineafowl Puffer can be poisonous to potential predators thanks to symbiotic bacteria that secrete toxins in its body.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month.
Photo by Jeff Haines.