Biologists think pufferfish, also known as blowfish, developed their famous “inflatability” because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. Some species also have spines on their skin to make them even less palatable. Below are 10 interesting puffer fish facts:
1. All pufferfish have 4 teeth that are fused together into a beak-like form. These teeth are used to crush the shells of mollusks, red worms and crustaceans.
2. Most puffer fish are found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but some are also known to live in brackish and fresh water.
3. About 39 species of puffer fish that inhabit marine waters swim into fresh and brackish waters to breed and feed.
4. The puffer fish feeds on invertebrates, algae, clams, shrimps, crabs, mussels and shellfish.
5. The dwarf puffer fish, also known as pea puffer fish and pygmy puffer fish, is the smallest species of puffer fish in the world.
6. Though pufferfish are poor swimmers, they can ingest large amounts of water or air in a few seconds, to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their size, when threatened.
7. Puffer fish has a unique breeding method, wherein the male guides its female counterpart towards the shore and she releases the eggs. In the eggs, the young ones are protected by the hard shell, which breaks off when they develop limbs. After the tail and fins develop, they swim down into the reef community below.
8. Most of the puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them taste foul and often lethal to fish. This tetrodotoxin is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide.
9. One puffer fish factscontains enough tetrodotoxin to kill 30 adult humans. The tetrodotoxin has no known antidote.
10 The Japanese prepare a delicacy called fugu, from puffer fish meat. The dish is prepared by well-trained and licensed chefs only, as one wrong cut can cause certain death for a customer.
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