Whitespotted Pufferfish, Arothron meleagris (Lacépède 1798)

Other Names: Guineafowl Puffer, Guinea-fowl Pufferfish, White-spotted Balloon, White-spotted Puffer, White-spotted Pufferfish

A Whitespotted Pufferfish, Arothron meleagris, at Guam. Source: David Burdick / http://guamreeflife.com. License: All rights reserved

A greenish-brown puffer, usually speckled with small white spots on the back, sides and caudal fin, and white bars on the underside. The body is covered in small spines except on the snout and tail base, and each nostril bears two fleshy solid tentacles.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Arothron meleagris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2020,

Whitespotted Pufferfish, Arothron meleagris (Lacépède 1798)

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Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, Scott Reef, Western Australia, and from Cape Clinton to Moreton Bay, Queensland; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

Inhabits sandy and rubble areas on outer reef slopes, reef flats and lagoons, and also coastal bays and estuaries. Juveniles occur in estuaries, where they are commonly seen in weedy and seagrass areas.


The species has black and yellow colour morphs. The yellow morph may be misidentified as Arothron nigropunctatus.


Feeds mostly on corals - feeding on the tips of branching corals. To a lesser extent, the species also feeds on sponges, molluscs, bryozoans, tunicates, forams, algae, and detritus.

Species Citation

Tetrodon meleagris Anonymous 1798, Histoire naturelle des poissons par le Cit. La Cepède 3(288): 684. Type locality: Asia.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Whitespotted Pufferfish, Arothron meleagris (Lacépède 1798)


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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G.R. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.). Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Anonymous 1798. Paris b. Plassan: Histoire naturelle des poissons par le Cit. La Cepède, etc. Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Berlin 3(288): 681-685. ((ex Commerson in Lacepède)

Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S. & Jones, G.P. 2008. Diversity and functional importance of coral-feeding fishes on tropical coral reefs. Fish and Fisheries 9: 286-307.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Guzman, H.M. & Robertson, R.D. 1989. Population and feeding responses of the corallivorous pufferfish Arothron meleagris to coral mortality in the eastern Pacific. Marine Ecology Progress Series 55: 121-131.

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)

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.

Matsuura, K. 1994. Arothron caeruleopunctatus, a new puffer from the Indo-western Pacific. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 41(1): 29-33.

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. & Yoshino, T. (eds) 1984. The Fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Tokyo : Tokai University Press Vol. 1–2 437 pp. 247 figs 370 pls.

Shao, K., Liu, M., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Arothron meleagris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193662A2255983. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T193662A2255983.en. Downloaded on 24 October 2017.

Su, J. & Tyler, J.C. 1986. Diagnoses of Arothron nigropunctatus and A. meleagris, two extremely polychromatic Indo-Pacific pufferfishes (Pisces : Tetraodontidae). Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 138(1): 14-32 figs 1-5

Waite, E.R. 1900. Additions to the fish-fauna of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 3(7): 193-209 figs 1-2 pls 34-36

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467064

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-24 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:50 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map