The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster valentini) is a tropical fish. It is also known as the Saddled Puffer or Black Saddled Toby.
The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer has a blue-grey head, and a white speckled body with blue-grey spots. It has four black stripes (called saddles) on its back. Its tail and fins are yellowish. It has rainbow stripes behind its eyes.
It grows to about 11 centimetres (4 inches) long.
It lives in tropical and subtropical waters in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. It lives among rocky reefs and coral reefs, and in lagoons.
The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer is diurnal, which means that it is most active during the day.
It is omnivorous, eating green and red algae, corals, sea urchins, and snails.
The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer is gonochoric, which means that half the population are male and the other half of the population are female. It is a demersalmarine fish – attaching its eggs to algae on coral. Females lay 15-800 small, round eggs. The parents do not look after the eggs. The eggs taste terrible, so other fish do not eat them. The eggs hatch after 3-5 days.
The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer is highly poisonous to eat. Humans and other fish that eat the Puffer die almost immediately. The poison is a neurotoxin, called tetrodotoxin, which is in its skin and tissues. Prey know that the Puffer is poisonous so they do not eat it. The Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer can puff up to make itself look much bigger. It can remain puffed up for about 10 minutes, which is enough time to scare away its predators.
[Location of photographs: Canberra National Zoo and Aquarium, Australia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM