Blackspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Black Spotted Pufferfish, Black-spotted Puffer, Black-spotted Pufferfish, Black-spotted Toadfish, Black-spotted Toado, Dog Face Puffer, Dogface Puffer, Dogface Puffer, Dogface Pufferfish, Spotted Toado

A Blackspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus, at Milne Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A variably coloured pufferfish, often with black spots scattered on a pale greyish to brownish-grey background, usually with dark patches around the eyes and snout, and a white bar across the top of the snout. Blackspotted puffers may also be yellowish or bluish-grey.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Arothron nigropunctatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Dec 2021,

Blackspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Australian EEZ from the Kimberley Coast and offshore reefs of the northwest Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, to the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, south to the Shoalhaven River, New South Wales; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west-central Pacific from East Africa to Micronesia and Samoa, and north to southern Japan, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Inhabits coastal and outer reefs, usually in areas with rich invertebrate growth.


Feeds on a range of invertebrates, including sponges, corals, molluscs and tunicates, along with algae.


The Blackspotted Puffer has been known to hybridize with the Scribbled Puffer, Arothron mappa (Hobbs et al. 2009).

Species Citation

Tetrodon nigropunctatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae  507. Type locality: Tranquebar, India.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Blackspotted Puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91.

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.

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. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

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

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Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls.

Hobbs, J-P., Frisch, A.J., Allen, G.R., & Van Herwerden, L. 2009. Marine hybrid hotspot at Indo-Pacific biogeographic border. Biology Letters 5: 258-261.

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)

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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.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

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Ogilby, J.D. 1890. Description of a new Tetrodon from New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum 1(4): 81-82, 101 (described as Tetrodon aurantius)

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Thompson, A.A. 2003. Marine surveys undertaken in the Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve, March-April 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science 59 pp.

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Paradice, W.E. & Whitley, G.P. 1927. Northern Territory fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 9(1): 76-106 figs 1-3 pls 11-15 (as Tetraodon nigropunctatus)

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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. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

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., Liu, M., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Arothron nigropunctatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193804A2279524. Downloaded on 03 May 2018.

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

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467027

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:3-25 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map