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The puffer fish, also known as blown fish or toadfish, is a unique species of fish popular for its inflatable body and sharp poisonous spikes as a defense mechanism.
Scientific Name: Tetraodontidae
Life Span: 4 to 8 years
Habitat: Shallow waters and coral reefs
Average size: 7 in to 24 in
See the fact file below for more information on the Puffer Fish or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Puffer Fish worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Puffer Fish Anatomy and Habitat
- Puffer fish can be found in a variety of colors including grey, yellow, blue, white and brown. Some find it hard to identify them when they’re not inflated.
- They mostly live in the warm waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, while some species can be found in freshwater.
- Unlike common fish with scales, puffer fish have thick and rough skin. Other species have spines on their skin. Its stomach area is the most elastic part of the body.
- They have four teeth fused like a beak used to open shellfish, clams and mussels.
- At the age of five, puffer fish reach maturity and are ready to reproduce. Male puffer fish guide females near to the shore where three to seven eggs are laid. Young puffer fish are protected by a hard eggshell while they float on the surface of the water. A week later, the egg hatches and a young puffer fish swims towards the reef.
- Male puffer fish spend seven to nine days creating underwater crop circles in the sand consisting of intricate patterns to attract females.
Unique but Deadly Venom
- The main feature of puffer fish is its ability to enlarge its body when threatened. Its body is covered with poisonous spikes, which are highly toxic to both animals and humans.
- Almost all species of puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, which can be 1,200 times stronger than cyanide.
- In order to enlarge their body in a second, puffer fish ingest large amounts of water, turning them into ball-like creatures that a predator may find scary or too large to swallow.
- While a single puffer fish can kill 30 adult humans, Japanese people have a very expensive delicacy made of puffer fish. Fugu is a Japanese delicacy made of puffer fish meat and only served by specially trained chefs.
- The only species immune to puffer fish toxins are sharks. They can eat as many as they want without negative consequences.
- Experts believed that puffers developed such a unique ability because they are generally poor swimmers that cannot escape predators. In addition, the brighter colors of puffer fish is associated with the amount of toxin produced.
- The tetrodotoxin present in puffer fish is also present in triggerfish and blue-ringed octopus. It works by paralyzing the diaphragm, causing respiratory failure. As of today, there is no known antidote for such toxin.
- Fugu chefs are trained for three years before preparing puffer fish sashimi. Between 1996 to 2006, there were 44 recorded incidents of fugu poisoning in Japan.
Puffer Fish Poisoning Symptoms
- Generally, symptoms of puffer fish poisoning occur 10 to 45 minutes after ingestion. A person begins to feel numbness and tingling around the mouth. In addition, excessive salivation, nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting follows. Moreover, limbs start feeling weak followed by difficulty in breathing.
- It may progress to paralysis, loss of consciousness, respiratory failure and can cause death.
- A person should immediately seek medical attention after initial symptoms appear.
- If a patient survives puffer fish poisoning with 24 hours, recovery is still possible. However, if in severe cases where respiratory muscles get paralyzed, it can be fatal.
Additional Spiky Facts
- Male white-spotted puffer fish are known for making nests in the sand to attract females.
- In a different purpose, masked puffer fish males used their nests made of sperm for hiding from predators.
- Some puffer fish, like the spotted green puffer, pignose puffer and bronze puffer can survive in large home aquariums but cannot be housed with other fish due to their aggressive behavior.
- Stellate puffer fish is considered the largest of its kind, reaching four feet in length. On the other hand, the dwarf puffer fish is difficult to spot as it rarely reaches one inch.
- Generally, they can change their color in response to the environment.
Puffer Fish Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Puffer Fish across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Puffer Fish worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the puffer fish, also known as blown fish or toadfish, which is a unique species of fish popular for its inflatable body and sharp poisonous spikes as a defense mechanism.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Puffer Fish Facts
- Fish Anatomy
- Kinds of Puffer Fish
- 3 Classes of Fish
- Fish Codes
- Something Fishy
- Fill Fish Fact
- Scientific Classification
- Self Defense Move
- Venom Profile
- Puffer Fish Day
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Link will appear as Puffer Fish Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 14, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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