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Pufferfish

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Pufferfish
Puffer Fish.jpeg
Scientific Classification
Genera
The Puffer Fish.jpg
The spiny puffer fish

The Pufferfish, also known as the fugu, is the second most poisonous animal to exist.[2] It's poison, also known as tetradoxin, is 1000 times more poisonous than cyanide.[3] The fugu is also prepared as a delicacy in Japan. They are closely monitored by law in Japan when preparing the fugu because it is extremely deadly.[4] They live as omnivores near coral reefs. [5] They have the ability to enlarge themselves twice as big to defend themselves from their prey. They do so by swallowing water into their bodies from their mouths.[3]Their size varies from less than an inch to four feet long.[6]

Body Design

The Dwarf Puffer fish which measures less than an inch

There are many different types of Puffer fish, in fact, the Tetraodontidae family have around 120 puffer fish species [7] in nineteen different genera. From all these different types, the stellate Puffer fish stands out the most as the largest Puffer fish growing up to forty-seven inches long or even four feet. On the contrary, measuring at less than an inch long is the dwarf puffer fish of Southwest India. [6] Other types of Puffer fish usually grow up to three feet in size. [7]

The Pufferfish looks like any other fish in the ocean. They have gills to breath, which are located on the sides of their heads. Like any ordinary fish, they also have fins to navigate and swim through the water. They have larger eyes than most fish and have minimal teeth in their mouths.[8] They have a small tube-shaped body which puffs up to a spherical shape when engulfing water for defense. It puffs up to about twice it size by engulfing water when it is threatened. Only a few of the species have spines on their bodies but most of them don't. They also have very elastic like skin that can stretch very well. [3]

Life Cycle

Most of the Pufferfish have open life stage. The males slowly push the females up to the surface of the water to spawn. [9] Pufferfish eggs stay above water for about one week before they hatch. The female can lay three to seven eggs each. They have a hard, protective shell surrounding their bodies when they hatch. This protective covering stays with the babies from when they are about zero to two years old. During these stages, they are referred to as "fries". They can grow to an approximately two and a half centimeters long. Once they reach three to eight years old, they can swim back to their community. [10]`They have fully functional eyes and mouths when they are born. They must be fed right away or they might not survive. [9]

Ecology

Where the puffer fish are found

Out of the 120 species in the Tetraodontidae family, twenty-nine of them live in fresh water for their entire lifetime. [9] It's lives its life as an omnivore for around four to eight years. [11] The Puffer fish likes to swim in warm water with approximately twenty-five degrees celsius, they are mostly found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. They swim near coral reefs and live in shallow waters instead of deep waters. [12]

Since it lives as an omnivore, it mostly consumes algae and coral. In the coral reefs they swim around, there must be many algae and coral growing on rocks to consume. It is the perfect location for the Puffer fish to live in. They also eat live organisms such as shellfish, crabs, shrimp and molluscs.[5]

Fugu

The Fugu sashimi

In Japan, the puffer fish is served as a delicacy, prices ranging from $20-$200. It is extremely important that the chef knows how to prepare the fugu correctly. One microscopic mistake can instantly kill the customer. Fugu is the Japanese translation of the pufferfish. Restaurants that serve and prepare the fugu are controlled and monitored by the law in Japan. The fugu can be served either as a sashimi or chiranabe style. The liver, the most poisonous section of the fugu is considered to be the tastiest part. In 1984, it was banned in Japan to serve the liver because it was highly poisonous. It has since still stand as one of the most celebrated delicacies in Japanese cuisine. [4]

The fugu contains an extremely poisonous substance which can paralyze its prey and humans called tetrodoxin. Tetrodoxin is about 1000 times deadlier than cyanide and there is no known antidote to save the victim. So many Japanese diners and customers have died from eating fugu.[3] The fugu comes up as the second most poisonous animal right after the golden frog at number one. [2]

Video

Quick video about the Puffer Fish

References

  1. Tetraodontidae Wikispecies. Web. Last modified on May 3, 2016. Author Unknown
  2. 2.0 2.1 Poison Weebly. Web. Last accessed on January 18,2017. Author Unknown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Pufferfish, Blowfish, Fugu, or Globefish Enchanted Learning. Web. Last accessed on January 18,2017. Author Unknown.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fugu Wikipedia. Web. Last modified on 26 December ,2016. Author Unknown
  5. 5.0 5.1 Food Chain Weebly. Web. Last accessed on January 17,2017. Author Unknown
  6. 6.0 6.1 Top 10 Facts About Pufferfish! IP Factly. Web. Last accessed on December 26, 2016. Author Unknown
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bates,Mary What’s a Pufferfish? Explaining Animal Behind Mystery Circles National Geographic. Web. Published on August 21,2013.
  8. Appearance Weebly. Web. Last accessed on January 17,2017. Author Unknown
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Tetraodontidae Wikipedia. Web. Last modified on December 30,2016. Author Unknown
  10. Life Cycle Weebly. Web. Last accessed on January 17, 2017. Author Unknown
  11. PUFFERFISH Kids National Geographic. Web. Last accessed on January 1, 2017. Author Unknown
  12. Habitat Weebly. Web. Last accessed on January 17,2017. Author Unknown