donderdag 22 november 2012

facts about Porcupinefish

Porcupinefishes are on every dive site around the Gili Islands. You will find the for example when you are diving North Gili Air, on Hans reef. But is the Porcupinefish the same fish as a Puffer fish? Porcupinefishes are similar to puffer with regards to their ability to inflate by drawing water into the addomen. They have additional protection in the form of sharp spines on the head and body. These are either three rooted or non movable as seen in the burrfishes or two rooted and erectile in Diodon. In the genus Lophodiodon both types of spines are evident on the same individual. Typically the spines of Diodon lie flat against the body with their tips directed posteriously, but if theatened the body is expanded and the spines are erected approximately perpendicular to the body surface, forming an obvious deterrent to potential predators. Porcupinefishes and burrfishes further differ from puffers in having broader pectoral fins, in lacking a median suture on their dental plates and having larger eyes. Most are nocturnally active, usually hidden in caves or beneath ledges during daylight hours. Their strong dental plates and powerful jaws are well suited for crushing the hard outer shell or test of sea urchins, gastropod molluscs and hermit crabs as well as exoskeleton of crabs. Care should be exercised when handling these fishes because of their obvious spines and capability of inflicting severe bites. They are also reports of poisoning due to people eating diodontid fishes presumably from tetrodotoxin but they can also cause ciguatera. The Family contains 6 genera and 19 species which occur in all tropical subtropical and warm temperate seas.

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