||Porcupinefish Allomycterus pilatus
A large specimen from Port Underwood
Porcupinefish are commonly called blowfish, and sometimes balloonfish or
globefish. These are found in shallow temperate, and tropical seas.
They have the ability to inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air, to become
rounder. This increase in size reduces the range of potential predators. A second
defense mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which radiate outwards when
the fish is inflated. Some species are poisonous, having tetrodotoxin in their
internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200
times more potent than cyanide!
As a result of these three defences porcupinefish have few predators, although
adults are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and killer whales. Juveniles are also
preyed on by tuna and dolphins.
||Collins, Harold Norman Langley
Collins, Noel Graham (Smokey)