Scribbled Puffer, Arothron mappa (Lesson 1831)

Other Names: Map Puffer, Map Toado, Scribbled Pufferfish

A Scribbled Puffer, Arothron mappa, at Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, October 2005. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A large yellowish-grey to dark pufferfish with an intricate pattern of wavy lines, reticulations and spots, fine lines radiating from the eyes at all stages, a large black blotch around the gill opening, and a black blotch on the lower side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Arothron mappa in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2022,

Scribbled Puffer, Arothron mappa (Lesson 1831)

More Info


North West Cape, Western Australia, to Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, Queensland, to Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific: East Africa to the Marshall Islands, and north to Japan.
Inhabits clear lagoons, sheltered seaward reefs and drop-offs. Juveniles occur in seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin 11–12; Anal fin 10–11; Pectoral 17–19. 


Feeds on algae, sponges, and benthic invertebrates including corals.


This species may hybridize with the Balckspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus (Hobbs et al. 2009)


The specific is from the Latin mappa (= tablecloth, napkin, signal flag), a word that was eventually used to refer to a geographical map, presumably in reference to the pattern of lines and reticulations on this species that resembled the roads and pathways on a map.

Species Citation

Tetraodon mappa Lesson, 1831, Voyage Autour du Monde 2:  102, pl. 5. Type locality: Dorey Bay, New Guinea.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Scribbled Puffer, Arothron mappa (Lesson 1831)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

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.

Lesson, R.P. 1831. Poissons. pp. 66-238 pls 1-38 in Duperrey, L.I. (ed.). Voyage Autour du Monde, exécuté par ordre du Roi, sur la corvette de sa Majesté, La Coquille, pendant les années 1822, 1823, 1824 et 1825, sous le minestère et conformément aux instructions de S.E.M. le Marquis de Clermont-Tonnerre, Ministre de la Marine; et publié sous les auspices de son Excellence Mgr le Cte de Chabrol, Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies. Paris : A. Bertrand Vol. 2 21 pls. See ref at BHL

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

Matsuura, K. & Toda, M. 1981. First records of two pufferfishes, Arothron mappa and A. reticularis, from Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 28(1): 91-94 figs 1-2

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105

Shao, K., Matsuura, K., Leis, J.L., Hardy, G., Jing, L., Liu, M. & Sanciangco, J. 2014. Arothron mappa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193671A2257989. Accessed on 21 February 2022.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467035

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:4-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:65 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map