Species Details

Details of Guineafowl Puffer will be displayed below

Guineafowl Puffer   

Common Name: Golden Puffer, Spotted Puffer, Velcro-fish
Scientific Name: Arothron meleagris
Local Name: -
Dhivehi Name: -
Animalia  (Kingdom)
Chordata  (Plylum)
Tetraodontidae  (Family)
Arothron   (Genus)

Guineafowl Puffer's description

Guineafowl puffers have heavy rounded bodies that are uniformly black with numerous small white spots (black puffer or botete negro), bright yellow spots (golden puffer or botete dorado) or a mixture of the two morphologies with bright yellow spots and black patches. They have large blunt heads with short snouts and are equipped with a set of massive teeth. They have small and similarly shaped anal and dorsal fins that are well back on their body. Their caudal fin base is long and deep and their caudal fin is rounded. Their body is covered with small denticles that resemble coarse sandpaper. When this fish is scared or frightened, they inflate and make themselves larger, exposing the denticles.

Guineafowl Puffer's facts

Arothron meleagris is Poisonous to eat

Guineafowl Puffer's Behavior & Ecology

This pufferfish is active in the daytime, and is solitary and shy. Found in depth range 1 - 73 m.

Guineafowl Puffer's Feeding

Arothron meleagris feeds on benthic invertebrates.

Guineafowl Puffer habitat

Arothron meleagris occurs in coral-rich areas of clear lagoon and seaward reefs (Kuiter and Tonozuka 2001). It can also be found on rocky reefs, although at low densities (Aburto-Oropeza and Balart 2001). Arothron meleagris is primarily corallivorous (Cole et al. 2008), feeding on the tips branching corals, but will also feed to a lesser extent on sponges, molluscs, bryozoans, tunicates, forams, algae, and detritus. Arothron meleagris may be a substantial energy drain on coral populations in the main Hawaiian Islands, and may contribute to the irregular morphology of the corals (Meesters et al. 1994). In Hawaii, A. meleagris damages the corals Porites lobata and feeds preferentially on P. compressa (Jayewardene et al. 2009). This species has strong, direct effects on coral communities and can limit the distribution and abundance of prey corals (Cole et al. 2011). Feeding on P. compressa limits population growth once corals become sparse, and/or the size of corals become very small (Jayewardene 2009). The ovaries are highly toxic and the liver is slightly toxic (Nakabo 2002).

This species displays variable colouration, appearing in a black morph and a yellow morph. The yellow colour morph is easily mistaken for A. nigropunctatus (Su and Tyler 1986). The black morph is more toxic, with the highest concentration of TTX being found in the liver, while the yellow morph is less toxic, and stores TTX in the mucous (Nuñez-Vázquez et al. 2000).

Fishes of the genus Arothron are widely distributed throughout the tropical regions of the Indo-western Pacific. Species have been distinguished primarily on the basis of their distinctive colour patterns due to morphological similarities between species.

Tetraodontids are characterized by a tough skin that is often covered with small spinulous scales, a beak-like dental plate divided by a median suture, a slit-like gill opening anterior to the base of the pectoral fin, no pelvic fins, no fin spines, a single usually short-based dorsal fin, a single usually short-based anal fin, and no ribs. They are capable of inflating their abdomens with water when frightened or  disturbed and are capable of producing and accumulating toxins such as tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin in the skin, gonads, and liver. The degree of toxicity varies by species, and also according to geographic area and season (Allen and Randall 1977, Allen and Erdmann 2012). Fishes in the family Tetraodontidae have the smallest vertebrate genomes known to date (Neafsey and Palumbi 2003).

Guineafowl Puffer threats

There have been no confirmed population declines in A. meleagris. However, because of its affinity with coral reefs, as well as its high-value in the marine aquarium trade we infer that A. meleagris may be experiencing population declines due to habitat loss and harvesting in parts of its range.

As of 2008, fifteen percent of the world’s coral reefs were considered under imminent threat of being “Effectively Lost” (with 90% of the corals lost and unlikely to recover soon), with regions in East Africa, South and South-east Asia, and the wider Caribbean being the most highly threatened (Wilkinson et al. 2008). Of 704 zooxanthellate reef-building coral species which were assessed by using the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Criteria, 32.8% are in categories with elevated risk of extinction (Carpenter et al. 2008).

One-third of global seagrass species are currently experiencing population declines, and 21% of globally assessed seagrass species are in threatened or near-threatened categories primarily due to coastal development and pollution (Short et al. 2011).

This species is a component of the international marine aquarium trade.

Guineafowl Puffer's status