Starry Puffer, Arothron stellatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Black-lined Pufferfish, Diagonal-banded Toadfish, Diagonal-banded Toado, Star Puffer, Starry Pufferfish, Starry Toadfish, Stellate Puffer, Stellate Toado, Toado

A Starry Puffer, Arothron stellatus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


A large pale greyish puffer with small black spots on the body (and often the fins) that become relatively smaller and more numerous as the fish grows, and dark blotches around the bases of the pectoral and dorsal fins. Juveniles are orange with dark stripes that break up into spots as they grow.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Arothron stellatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Starry Puffer, Arothron stellatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Shark Bay and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, to Sussex Inlet, New South Wales with juveniles south to at least Eden, New South Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, reefs in the Coral Sea, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Adults inhabit clear lagoons and seaward reefs, while juveniles prefer estuaries and coastal reefs.


Dorsal fin 11-12; Anal fin 11; Pectoral fin 17-20. 
Nasal organ with 2 bifid tentacles; a single lateral line on side of body; small spinules on head and body, except top of snout, fin bases, and side of caudal peduncle, spinules most noticeable ventrally. 


Feeds on a range on benthic invertebrates including sea urchins, starfishes, sponges, crabs, coral and algae.


Taken in artisinal fisheries in some areas, and caught as incidental bycatch in commercial trawl fisheries. Juveniles may also be traded in the aquarium industry.


The Starry Puffer is extremely poisonous, and tetrodotoxin may occur in the muscle, intestine, liver, gonads and skin. The toxicity may vary according to geographic area and season.


The specific name is from the Latin stellatus (= starry) in reference to the stellate-shaped prickles covering the body.

Species Citation

Tetrodon stellatus Anonymous 1798, Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung 1798 (pt. 3) (no. 288): 683. Type locality: Mauritius (as mare Indicum circa insulam Mauricii).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Starry Puffer, Arothron stellatus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467014

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-61 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:100 cm TL+

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map