ClassACTINOPTERYGII Ray-finned fishes
Small to medium-sized robust fishes, similar to pufferfishes, with bodies covered in large strong spines. Porcupinefishes have small mouths with teeth fused into a single beak-like unit in each jaw, slit-like gill openings and small dorsal and anal fins far back on the body. No other family has the following combination of characters: large spines on body; no pelvic fins; body inflatable.
Although they are slow swimmers, they can inflate their bodies into spiny spheres when alarmed, making it difficult for predators to attack.
They should not be eaten as the poison tetrodotoxin is found in their internal organs.
Seven genera and 19 species are recognised worldwide, with all genera and 12 species known from Australian waters.
A small family found worldwide, mostly in shallow tropical seas.
Many porcupine fishes are nocturnal and usually shelter in caves, crevices and
under ledges during the day.
|Porcupine fishes are carnivores and use their powerful jaws and fused tooth plates to crush crabs, molluscs and sea urchins.|
|Dianne J. Bray|
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Winterbottom, R. 1974. The familial phylogeny of the Tetraodontiformes (Acanthopterygii : Pisces) as evidenced by their comparative myology. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 155: 1-102 figs 1-185