Blackspotted puffer is a small sized fish which grows up to 33 cm (1 ft) length. Its body is oval shape, spherical and relatively elongated. The skin is not covered with scales. The fish has no pelvic fin and no lateral line.The dorsal fin and the anal fin are small, symmetric and located at the end of the body. Its snout is short with two pairs of nostrils and its mouth is terminal with four strong teeth. The background coloration is variable and can be grey, light brown, bluish, bluish dark, bright yellow, orangey yellow and also sometimes bi-color like bluish and yellow. Dark coloration occurs around the eyes and the mouth. The skin is strewed with dark blotches which vary in size and shape.
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This species is found in reefs of Maldives and is found in tropical waters from the Indian Ocean to the central islands of the Pacific Ocean, roughly equalling the Indo-Pacific, except the Red Sea.
Found singly or in pairs over inner and outer reefs slopes and crests, rich in coral and invertebrate growth. Often found resting on sponges and corals. It lives close to external reef slopes and lagoons from the surface to 25 m (82 ft) depth.
Blackspotted puffer feeds on benthic invertebrates, sponges, algaes, coral like Acropora tips, crustaceans and mollusks.
There have been no confirmed population declines in A. nigropunctatus. However, due to its affinity with coral reefs we infer that A. nigropunctatus may be experiencing population declines due to habitat loss 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).
Arothron nigropunctatus was a component of a Japanese study which sought to distinguish between the flesh of different species of pufferfishes which were marketed for human consumption using genetic markers. It is therefore inferred that this species is consumed in Japan and is commercially traded there (Ishizaki et al. 2006), possibly having a negative impact on population numbers and trends.