Sphoeroides testudineus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Checkered puffer
photo by Macieira, R.M.

Family:  Tetraodontidae (Puffers), subfamily: Tetraodontinae
Max. size:  38.8 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 400.0 g
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range - 48 m
Distribution:  Western Atlantic to Southwest Atlantic: Rhode Island, USA to southeastern Brazil.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-12; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 11-11. Greenish above, pale yellow to white below; back has series of pale lines and arcs suggesting concentric circles with intersecting lines. No other puffer has this color pattern (Ref. 26938).
Biology:  Commonly found in bays, tidal creeks and protected coastal waters, especially on seagrass beds, and in brackish water. Rare or absent on coral reefs. Does not form schools, but may form huge aggregates. Hides in the sand when frightened (Ref. 9710). Feeds mainly on bivalves, gastropods, foraminiferans and several other benthic invertebrates specially crustaceans, which it crushes with its powerful teeth (Ref. 35237). To ward off predators, it inflates itself like a balloon. Highly toxic; used to poison cats and dogs (Ref. 2861).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 07 June 2011 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  poisonous to eat
Country info:   

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Bailly, Nicolas - 03.10.18
Checked by: Torres, Armi G. - 02.09.94

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