Baby pufferfish Identification Guide

When you are in the wild, it is quite to identify the fish species because they are numerous. You can find it hard to know the sweet species, just like the one at your place or those that are harmful. You can easily confuse pufferfish with other harmless fish species in the wild. They have a comical appearance, and you will find over 120 species of pufferfish worldwide. Some of the ways to identify a baby pufferfish are listed below.

Baby pufferfish Identification Guide
Baby pufferfish Identification Guide

What do Baby puffer fish look like? Baby pufferfish looks just like the adult pufferfish, but may not have the ability to puff yet.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What are the ways that you can identify a baby pufferfish?

  • The most obvious way that you can identify a pufferfish is their shape. It has a long, tapered body with bulbous heads. Some species also have a wild marking on their body.
  • They have a unique dentition. Pufferfish has four large teeth, two on the lower side, and two on the upper side of the jaw, and this gives them a beaky appearance.
  • Pufferfish skin does not have a scale but usually rough to spiky skin to fend off predators.
  • Is their belly inflatable? Not all baby pufferfish have the ability to puff at the early stage, but some do.
  • Check out their fins. Pufferfish do not have ventral fins while their dorsal and anal fins are usually without spines and located far back on the body.

Although, you will find these mind-blowing sea creatures gentle, slow, and magnificent when you first see it. They are known to be among the deadliest fishes when they are under threat. Pufferfish are toxic to predators and also poisonous to man, this means if you spot them while diving, try to give it some space. The best thing is that in captivity, they are mostly harmless because they cannot produce toxins themselves but through their diet.

Pufferfish are in abundance in the tropics, you will also spot them in the temperate zone, but they are not in the cold waters.

pufferfish coloring
puffer fish coloring

Baby puffer fish coloring

Baby puffer fish look similar to adult pufferfish. They belong to the family of Tetraodontidae, which you can quickly identify with their unique dentition. It has four large teeth, which gives them a beaky appearance. Pufferfish also have an inflatable belly, which they puff to look larger when they are under threat to fend off predators. Their fins are also without spines, and they do not have ventral fins.

Puffer fishes come in varieties of colors such as grey, white, blue, brown, and yellow. You can easily use its color to different a species of puffer from another. The dwarf pufferfish has varieties of color which range from brown to green with dark spots on their body. You can identify male dwarf pufferfish from the females with the dark-lines found across their bellies and the wrinkles under their eyes.

The color of porcupine fish varies from light brown to tan with darker brown blotches surrounding its body and black spots interspersed. A great way to identify a porcupine fish is its brown patch located above and below each eye.

Other Identifiers

Pufferfish are solitary, and its exact length is mainly on the type of pufferfish species. They are also known to be aggressive and territorial.

You are going to find the dwarf pufferfish only in the freshwater bodies. In contrary to the solitary life of pufferfish species, they swim in schools. They can grow to about 2.5cm in length, which makes them the smallest pufferfish in the world. Although the freshwater puffers move in school, they are also aggressive and territorial.

You can quickly identify the porcupine pufferfish with its long, sturdy, and sharp spines. These spines are usually flat on its body surface, but it straight out when it puffs up. The spines are known as modified scales.

Are Baby pufferfish poisonous

Baby pufferfish look as helpless as any other baby fishes in appearances. Its parents usually abandon it, and some do not have the ability to puff themselves when threatened. Since pufferfish lays eggs, baby pufferfish do not have enough toxins in their body to protect themselves. An exciting thing about pufferfish is that the toxins are all over the surface of baby puffers. The mum puffer stores extra toxins where they keep their eggs and release some toxins as soon as she lays them. After the baby hatches, the toxins stick to their body. These toxins are not enough to kill predators but prevent them from being eaten.

Other fishes that resemble pufferfish

Although pufferfish has numerous distinctive features, you are also going to find varieties of fish species that look similar to them. Some of the fish species that are listed below are safe to have as pets, but you should try to be careful when identifying them in the wild.

Betta fish

Betta fish is a tropical fish species and can only grow to about 3 inches in length. Just like dwarf pufferfish, betta fish is also among the smallest freshwater fish, and it is a great fish that you can keep as a pet. You can differentiate them with their vivid coloration and long flowing fins, and you will surely love its stunning coloration. Although they are also peaceful, they also tend to fight each other if you keep two males in the same aquarium.

Pygmy Hatchetfish

The Pygmy Hatchetfish looks similar to the pufferfish with their bloated belly. The fish has a silver color, and in the wild, you will find them in the Amazon and Peruvian River basin. The fish is a top fish species to keep as a pet, and the best thing is that they can co-exist with other timid aquarium animals in a fish tank. They are small and do not grow more than 1 inch. They are surface dwellers, and you should try to cover their container so that they do not jump off the aquarium.

Ember Tetra

The ember tetra is another nano freshwater fish that looks like dwarf pufferfish in length. You can differentiate them with their blazing hot appearance. They have a bright orange color that looks like a glow of dying fire. Unlike pufferfish, they are also active swimmers and prefer hanging out in the middle part of a tank around the rocks and plants. They are hardy fish species, which makes them a great fish to keep as a pet.

In general, you can quickly determine whether a fish is a pufferfish or not with their unique dentition, inflatable belly, the position of their dorsal and anal fins, and their bulbous head.

baby pufferfish attack snails

Related Questions

Is a baby pufferfish more poisonous than adult pufferfish?

Baby pufferfish are not poisonous like adult pufferfish. It is because they have not accumulated enough toxins in their body, and they depend on the toxins deposited on their body by their mother to deter predators.

Can a pufferfish kill you?

The majority of pufferfish species are toxic, and it is one of the most poisonous vertebrates in the world. Pufferfish have a toxin known as tetrodotoxin, which is produced by bacteria that live in the fish. You are going to find the toxins in its liver, reproductive organs, and skin, which makes them toxic when eaten.

What are some more names for a pufferfish?

The pufferfish family comprises of different species of puffers. They are also known as blowfish, globefish, balloon fish, swellfish, bubble fish, honey toads, sea squab, and toadfish.

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