Threebar Porcupinefish, Dicotylichthys punctulatus Kaup 1855

Other Names: Balloonfish, Balloon-fish, Burrfish, Burr-fish, Myer's Porcupinefish, Myer's Porcupine-fish, Spotted Porcupine Fish, Three Banded Porcupinefish, Three-bar Porcupinefish, Three-bar Porcupine-fish, Threebarred Porcupinefish, Three-barred Porcupinefish

A Threebar Porcupinefish, Dicotylichthys punctulatus, at Currambene Creek, Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


A greenish to bluish-grey porcupinefish covered in small black spots, with a white belly, a dark back, three dark bars on sides - one below the eye, a second on the gill cover and a third behind the pectoral fin.

Video of a Threebar Porcupinefish

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Dicotylichthys punctulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2020,

Threebar Porcupinefish, Dicotylichthys punctulatus Kaup 1855

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Recorded from Moreton Bay, Queensland, to Lakes Entrance, Victoria, and Flinders Island, Tasmania; occasionally to east of Wilsons Promontory, Bass Strait, Victoria and northern Tasmania.


Body with blade-like, fixed immovable spines on the back, those on the belly and head able to be raised.

Similar Species

The similar Spotfin Burrfish, Chilomycterus reticulatus has spots on the fins and fewer spines on the head and body.

Species Citation

Dicotylichthys punctulatus Kaup 1855, Archiv für Naturgeschichte 21(1): 230. Type locality: Australia (although the type locality is listed as Cape of Good Hope, South Africa; Mauritius, the species is an Australian endemic)


Dianne J. Bray

Threebar Porcupinefish, Dicotylichthys punctulatus Kaup 1855


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

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kaup, J.J. 1855. Uebersicht über die Species einiger Familien der Sclerodermen. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 21(1): 215-233.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

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.

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

Leis, J.M. 2001. Diodontidae. pp. 3958-3965 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Leis, J.M. 2006. Nomenclature and distribution of the species of the Porcupinefish family Diodontidae (Pisces, Teleostei). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 77-90.

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37469013

Depth:1-50 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm SL


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CAAB distribution map