Smooth Toadfish, Tetractenos glaber (Fréminville 1813)

Other Names: Smooth Toado

A Smooth Toadfish, Tetractenos glaber, in Wollongong Harbour, New South Wales, July 2009. Source: Sascha Schultz / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A small pale yellowish to greenish pufferfish, with dark brown irregular spots and blotches overlain with four darker bands and a white belly. The spots elongate and become fewer on the lower sides. The Smooth Toadfish has a moderately long and robust body covered in minute embedded spines, with a distinct skin-fold along the lower sides, and the body 

The Smooth Toadfish is often abundant in bays and estuaries throughout southeastern Australia. Pufferfishes (toadfish) are very poisonous and this species should not be eaten - or fed to pets.

Video of a school of Smooth Toadfish at West Beach, Croajingolong National Park, East Gippsland, Victoria.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Tetractenos glaber in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Smooth Toadfish, Tetractenos glaber (Fréminville 1813)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southeastern Australia, from Moreton Bay, Queensland, to Spencer Gulf, South Australia and around Tasmania. Smooth Toadfish are sometimes locally abundant, and inhabit mangroves, seagrass beds, sand flats, and muddy areas in shallow bays and estuaries, at depths of 0-20 m (mostly above 5 m). The Smooth Toadfish also occasionally enters freshwater above normal tidal influence.


Dorsal fin 9-11; Anal fin 7-9; Caudal fin 11; Pectoral fin 15-18.

Body moderately long, robust, tapering to a slender caudal peduncle, with a distinct skinfold present along lower sides; body covered in minute spines.


To 16 cm.


Pale yellowish to greenish above, white below, tail often reddish, iris red. Top and sides with dark brown irregular spots of varying sizes, overlain with four darker bands over the back and sides. Spots elongate and become fewer on the lower sides.


Feeds mostly on benthic molluscs (mussels), crustaceans (especially crabs) and polychaete worms.

Similar Species

Differs from the Common Toadfish, Tetractenos hamiltoni, in skin texture and coloration. The Smooth Toadfish has larger spots and blotches, and minute spines embedded in the skin giving it a smooth feel, hence the common name. The Common Toadfish is covered in small prickles.

Species Citation

Tetrodon glaber Fréminville, 1813, Nouv. Bull. Sci. 3(67): 251, pl. 4(4). Type locality: Adventure Bay, Tasmania


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Smooth Toadfish, Tetractenos glaber (Fréminville 1813)


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  • Bibron, G. 1855. in Duméril, A.H.A. Note sur un travail inédit de Bibron relatif aux poissons Plectognathes Gymnodontes (Diodons et Tétrodons). Revue et Magasin de Zoologie (Paris) 2 8: 274-282 (described as Aphanacanthe reticulatus)
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  • Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37467003

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


    Depth:0-20 m

    Habitat:Bays, estuaries

    Max Size:16 cm TL


    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map