Pelagocephalus marki Heemstra & Smith 1981

Other Names: Rippled Blaasop

Pelagocephalus marki washed ashore at Kayser’s Beach, Eastern Cape, South Africa, October 2015. Source: Kevin Cole / East London Museum, South Africa. License: All rights reserved

A greyish, emerald green or bluish puffer becoming blackish laterally and bright silver below, with pale wavy lines and reticulations along the back and caudal peduncle. This species lacks a lateral line.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Pelagocephalus marki in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024,

Pelagocephalus marki Heemstra & Smith 1981

More Info


Norfolk Ridge, south of Norfolk Island in the Australian EEZ. Elsewhere the species occurs in South Africa and in New Zealand. Inhabits mid-water pelagic environments, and has been collected in very shallow waters during the day, and trawled at a depth of 731 m.


Dorsal fin 9: Anal fin 9; Pectoral fin 13-14, two uppermost unbranched, others branched; Caudal fin 9 principal rays (lowermost unbranched and all others branched) and 1 much shorter, procurrent ray above and below; Vertebrae 17, 8 abdominal and 9 caudal.
Body slender, slightly globose, depth 3.0 in SL; snout bluntly pointed, nostrils large, a flat disc-shaped organ with a shallow depression and irregular corrugated folds.
Dermal spines moderate in size, covering body except snout and caudal peduncle. Gill openings crescentic, extending from upper end of pectoral base and not reaching to level of 10th pectoral-fin ray. 
Dorsal and anal fins bluntly pointed, anal fin originating below dorsal-fin base; caudal fin rounded.

Similar Species

Differs from Cohen's Puffer, Pelagocephalus coheni, in lacking a lateral line and in the size and distribution of the dermal spines.
The species also differ in size of the nasal organ. The nasal organ of P. coheni is contained twice in the distance between the organs, whereas that of P. marki is contained slightly less than one-and-a-half times.


The species is named in honour of Mark Pote, the collector of the holotype.

Species Citation

Pelagocephalus marki Heemstra & Smith 1981, Bulletin of Marine Science 31(4): 911, figs 1-3. Type locality: tide pool at Port Alfred, approximately 400 m east of the Kowie River mouth, South Africa. 


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Pelagocephalus marki Heemstra & Smith 1981


Hardy, G.S. 1982. First Pacific records of Pelagocephalus marki Heemstra & Smith (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and first male specimen of the genus. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 9(3): 377-379, open access

Heemstra, P.C. & Smith, M.M. 1981. Pelagocephalus marki, a new species of puffer fish (Tetraodontidae) from South Africa. Bulletin of Marine Science 31(4): 911-915 See ref online, open access

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279 

Shao, K., Matsuura, K., Leis, J.L., Harwell, H., Jing, L. & Liu, M. 2014. Pelagocephalus marki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193638A2251382. Downloaded on 25 July 2019.

Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. 1986. Family No. 268: Tetraodontidae. pp. 894-903, figs 268.1-268.29 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Stewart, A.L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. 248 Family Tetraodontidae, pp. 1730-1740 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467071

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-713 m

Habitat:Mid-water, pelagic

Max Size:12 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map