Orangebarred Puffer, Polyspina piosae (Whitley 1955)

Other Names: Orangebarred Pufferfish, Orange-barred Pufferfish

An Orangebarred Pufferfish, Polyspina piosae, at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, February 2017. Source: Glen Whisson / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

Sandy coloured with darker speckles and reticulations above, white below, with a broad brown stripe, broken by several small to large orange blotches, running obliquely from the chin to the eye and along the midside to the tail base. The Orangebarred Puffer is covered in very long close-set spines, and has large conspicuous nostrils before the eyes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Polyspina piosae in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Orangebarred Puffer, Polyspina piosae (Whitley 1955)

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Victor Harbor, South Australia, to Shark Bay, Western Australia. Individuals or small to large schools swim near the bottom over sandy areas near reefs, sparse seagrass beds and surf zones, in bays and protected coastal waters at depths to 37 m.


Dorsal fin 7-9; Anal fin 6-8; Pectoral fin 14-16; Caudal fin 11; Vertebrae 8-9 + 11-12 = 19-20.
Body elongate, rounded dorsally, barely flattened ventrally, tapering to a short, narrow caudal peduncle; no obvious ventrolateral skin fold. Head length 2.7-3.2 in SL; chin strongly developed; body spines very long and dense over anterior 2/3% of body; lateral line very indistinct owing to dense covering of spines.


"Ground colour cream above, white below; back and sides with dense network of light brown, also two diffuse dark cross-bars, one before dorsal origin, the other at middle of back. A broken brown band or series of lateral blotches along each side and an oblique bar extending forward from below one eye to join its fellow across chin. This and the other median lateral blotches are broken up by orange or yolk-yellow patches. The yellow also forms a few  irregular blotches on the white belly. Mouth dirty-white, fins pale  yellowish. Eye blue with opalescence below pupil." (Whitley 1953)


Taken as incidental bycatch in prawn trawl fisheries.


Whitley named the species piosae as the holotype was "Collected by the author, who had been attending the Pan Indian Ocean Science Association's congress in Perth at that time, and from whose initial letters the new trivial name is derived." 

Species Citation

Torquigener piosae Whitley 1955, Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1953–54: 56, fig. 8. Type locality: Three to four miles west of Fremantle, Western Australia, 4 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Orangebarred Puffer, Polyspina piosae (Whitley 1955)


Black, R., Robertson, A.I., Peterson, C.H. Peterson, & N.M. 1990. Fishes and benthos of near-shore seagrass and sandflat habitats at Monkey Mia Shark Bay, Western Australia. pp 245-261 in Berry, P.F., Bradshaw, S.D. & Wilson, B.R. (eds). Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Biocentenary Expedition. Perth: Western Australia Museum.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp. 

Hardy, G.S. 1983. Revision of Australian species of Torquigener Whitley (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and two new generic names for Australian puffer fishes. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 13(1/2): 1-48 figs 1-18

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. 

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds). The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2021. Complete list of fishes recorded from the Perth Coast (Mandurah to Two Rocks). pp. 262-275  in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds). The Perth Coast Fish Book. Identification guide Mandurah to Two Rocks. Perth, Western Australia : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services: 1-280.

Hutchins, J. B. 1979. A guide to the marine fishes of Rottnest Island. Perth : Creative Research, 103 pp. (as Torquigener species)

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. (as Torquigener piosae)

Hyndes, G.A., Platell, M.E., Potter, I.C. & Lenanton, R.C.J. 1999. Does the composition of the demersal fish assemblages in temperate coastal waters change with depth and undergo consistent seasonal changes? Marine Biology 134: 335-352.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

Liu, M., Larson, H., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Polyspina piosae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193730A2268147. Downloaded on 21 September 2020.

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. 

Tyler, J.C. 1980. Osteology, phylogeny, and higher classification of the fishes of the Order Plectognathi (Tetraodontiformes). NOAA Technical Report NMFS Circular 434: 1-422. (as Amblyrhynchotes piosae) See ref at BHL

Tyler, J.C. & Paxton, J.R. 1979. New genus and species of pufferfish (Tetraodontidae) from Norfolk Island, Southwest Pacific. Bulletin of Marine Science 29(2): 202-15. (as Amblyrhynchotes piosaeSee ref online

White, K.S., Westera, M.B. & Kendrick, G.A. 2011. Spatial patterns in fish herbivory in a temperate Australian seagrass meadow. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 93: 366-374.

Whitley, G.P. 1955. Taxonomic notes on fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1953–54: 44-57 figs 1-8 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467049

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Possibly poisonous

Depth:0-37 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas


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