Milkspot Toadfish, Chelonodontops patoca (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

Other Names: Gangetic Blow Fish, Gangetic Pufferfish, Marbled Toad, Marbled Toado, Milkspotted Puffer, Milkspotted Toadfish, Milk-spotted Toadfish

A Milkspot Toadfish, Chelonodon patoca, at Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Iran. Source: Parviz Tavakoli / FishBase. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A greyish to brownish puffer with silvery-white lower sides, large round or oval white spots, dark bands on the head and body, a broad yellow patch below the pectoral fin, and a pale yellowish tail. 

Pufferfishes are poisonous and should never be eaten or fed to pets.

Video of a Milkspot Toadfish eating a crab.

Cite this page as:
Chelonodontops patoca in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Nov 2018,

Milkspot Toadfish, Chelonodontops patoca (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

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Recorded in Australia from the Ashburton River, Western Australia, to Port Clinton, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific, from East Africa to the Admiralty Islands, New Britain and the Trobiand Islands, north to China, south to northern Australia. Inhabits coastal and estuarine waters, often entering the lower reaches of rivers.


Dorsal fin 9-11; Anal fin 8-10.
Body covered in spinules or prickles; spinules on dorsal surface of head and body extending from behind interorbital space nearly to dorsal-fin origin.


This species was previously known as Chelonodon patoca.

Species Citation

Tetrodon patoca Hamilton, 1822, Fishes River Ganges: 7, 362, pl. 18(2). Type locality: Ganges, India.


Australian Faunal Directory

Milkspot Toadfish, Chelonodontops patoca (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)


Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Beumer, J.P. 1978. Feeding ecology of four fishes from a mangrove creek in north Queensland, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 12: 475-490. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. & Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 247-266. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Hamilton, F. 1822. An Account of the Fishes Found in the River Ganges and its Branches. Edinburgh : Archibald Constable 405 pp., pls 1-39.

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Kottelat, M. 2013. The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663. Ref. available, open access

Kottelat, M., Whitten, A.J.,  Kartikasari, S.N. & Wirjoatmodjo, S. 1993. Freshwater fishes of Western Indonesia and Sulawesi. Periplus Editions, Hong Kong. 221 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls (as Chelonodon patoca)

Matsuura, K. 2015. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research 62: 72-113. Open access

Paradice, W.E. & Whitley, G.P. 1927. Northern Territory fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 9(1): 76-106 figs 1-3 pls 11-15 (as Leiodon patoca)

Psomadakis, P.N., Matsuura, K. & Thein, H. 2018. Chelonodontops alvheimi, a new species of pufferfish (Actinopterygii: Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from the Indian Ocean, with redescription of the rare pufferfish Chelonodontops leopardus (Day 1878). Ichthyological Research 8pp. Abstract

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Chelonodon patoca)

Shao, K., Matsuura, K., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Liu, M. 2014. Chelonodon patoca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T172416A1341720. Downloaded on 31 July 2018.

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68 (as Chelonodon patoca)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467015

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-22 m

Habitat:Inshore, estuaries

Max Size:38 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map