Ocean Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Blue Blaasop, Oceanic Pufferfish, Pelagic Toadfish, Rabbit Puffer, Tamboril

Ocean Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A blackish-grey to dark bluish-grey puffer, with silver sides between the level of the upper margin of the eye and the ventrolateral angles of body, a white belly with dark spots near the pectoral-fin bases continuing onto the underside. The fins are dark with the lower third of the pectoral fins white. Juveniles may have darker bands on the upper sides.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Lagocephalus lagocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/870

Ocean Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus 1758)

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Off southern Queensland to off the eastern edge of the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and northern Tasmania; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. The Ocean Puffer may occur around Australia. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters.
The species may form pelagic schools.


Dorsal fin 13-15; Anal fin 11-13; Caudal fin 11; Pectoral fin 13-16.
Body elongate, thick, rounded dorsally, flattened ventrally, tapering to narrow caudal peduncle; weak ventrolateral skinfold on each side extending from posterior margin of pectoral fin to caudal fin base; body inflatable. Head of moderate size (29-37% SL); eyes of moderate size, rounded, with very weak skinfold on lower margin, lower border well below top of pectoral fin bases; bony interorbital space broad;  chin not prominent;  mouth small; teeth in each jaw fused into beak-like structure separated by medial groove; each nostril a flattened papilla, distally with two openings; gill openings confined to area just in front of pectoral fin bases.  
Scales absent, skin mostly smooth, spines absent from back and sides, small but stout spines extending from ventral surface behind chin to just in front of anus; lateral line distinct, angled from back of head toward centre of caudal peduncle, with faint second lateral line ventrolaterally.  
Single small pointed, paddle-shaped dorsal fin positioned posteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposite dorsal fin;  caudal fin with pointed upper and lower corners, lower corner extended.  Pectoral fins moderately small, upper corner pointed. Pelvic fins absent. 


Brownish grey to dark green or bluish above, with darker bands sometimes in juveniles; dorsal pigmentation becoming silver at level with upper margin of orbits, extending to ventrolateral angles of body; belly white with dark brown or black spots near pectoral fin bases continuing onto underside of body; all fins darkly pigmented, with lower one-third of pectoral fins white.  

Species Citation

Tetraodon lagocephalus Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae ed. 10: 332. Type locality: India and Jamaica.  


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Ocean Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus 1758)


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. 

Hardy, G.S. 1994. Family Tetraodontidae. pp. 902-912, figs 795-804 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hardy, G., Jing, L., Leis, J.L., Liu, M., Matsuura, K. & Shao, K. 2014. Lagocephalus lagocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T190464A19929421. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T190464A19929421.en. Downloaded on 23 August 2016.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. 

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundem classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tomus I 824 pp. 

Matsuura, K. 2008. Families Ostraciidae, Tetraodontidae. pp. 842-856 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp. 

 Shipp, R.L. 1974. The pufferfishes (Tetraodontidae) of the Atlantic Ocean. Publications of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Museum 41: 1-162 figs

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467023

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:10-476 m

Habitat:Oceanic, pelagic

Max Size:61 cm TL

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