Skip to main content

Pufferfish

Deflated (Source)


There are 121 species of Pufferfish, found within 20 separate genera, but all contained within the family Tetraodontidae. They lived in tropical waters throughout the world, and some species have even made it to temperate areas and fresh water. Pufferfish can grow to a variety of different sizes, depending on the species, with the largest individuals reaching about 40in in length. All Pufferfish have a similar long, tapered body shape and round head. Their family name, Tetraodontidae, comes from their four large, fused teeth that allow them to break open the hard shells of mollusks and crustaceans.

So how does a Pufferfish puff? Because they swim so slowly, Pufferfish are unable to quickly escape from would be predators. They have developed extremely elastic stomachs and the ability to very quickly suck in water (and sometimes air) in order to inflate themselves to a much large size. Most Pufferfish also have spines that remain hidden while deflated, but project outward while puffed up, giving them an even more fearsome appearance.

Inflated (Source)
But inflation is not the only trick a Pufferfish has up its sleeve. Nearly every species contains a powerful substance known as Tetrodotoxin, which if found chiefly in organs like the ovaries and liver. It is extremely potent, and in humans is over 1,000 times more powerful than Cyonide. Yet humans still eat Pufferfish! The meat of these fish, sometimes called Fugu, is considered a delicacy in Japan. If prepared correctly by a trained chef, the meat is harmless. Still, every year their are reported cases of poisoning, and there is no antidote. While this toxin is deadly to humans, some marine predators, including Tiger Sharks, are unaffected.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Greater Kudu

Tragelaphus strepsiceros The Greater Kudu is one of the largest Antelope species out there, which the largest males standing over 5ft tall at the shoulder and weighing over 600lbs. They sport horns that equally as impressive in size-- the record is 72in. You'll find the Greater Kudus in southern and eastern Africa, where they inhabit scrub woodlands. Their brown coloration and white stripes allow them to remain camouflaged within these woody surroundings. The Kudus are most active at dawn and dusk, and spend the daytime hours hidden in these forested areas. However, their stripes are not their only defensive mechanism; they also sport very large ears that allow them to hear approaching danger. When alerted, the Antelope can try and bound away to safety. Female Greater Kudus tend to live in moderately sized groups with other females and offspring. Most mature males are solitary, and will only join up with these herds during the breeding period that corresponds with the end

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!