Blacksaddle Toby, Canthigaster valentini (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: Banded Toby, Black-saddled Toby, Saddled Puffer, Striped Toby, Valentin's Sharpnose Pufferfish

A Blacksaddle Toby, Canthigaster valentini, at Old Gulch, Lord Howe Island. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef life Survey. License: CC By Attribution


A whitish toby with pale brown spots and four dark brown to blackish saddles, the middle two saddles extending onto the belly. This poisonous toby is mimiced by the almost identical Blacksaddle Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus). Here's a great video showing how the Blacksaddle Toby differs from this mimic. 

Blacksaddle Tobies fighting off Adonara, Indonesia - OUCH!

Small juvenile Common Coral Trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and Barcheek Coral Trout (Plectropomus marginatus) avoid predators by mimicing the poisonous Blacksaddle Toby.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Canthigaster valentini in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Blacksaddle Toby, Canthigaster valentini (Bleeker 1853)

More Info


North West Cape and offshore reefs of north Western Australia (Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef), Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland and reefs in the Coral Sea, to at least Wollongong, New South Wales; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Middleton and Elizabeth reefs, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Occurs in a variety of coral reef and seagrass habitats in subtidal lagoons and seaward reefs.


Dorsal fin 9; Anal fin 9. 


Feeds on wide variety of benthic organisms, including filamentous green and red algae, tunicates, corals, bryozoans, polychaete worms, echinoderms, molluscs, and brown and coralline red algae.


Sharpnose Puffers occur in male-dominated harems. A single sexually mature male dominates a social group of several sexually mature females and a number of immature individuals. Each female guards a territory within the male's larger territory. Spawning occurs daily and year-round within the territory of an individual female, and she lays her  eggs inside this territory.
Females produce spherical, strongly adhesive eggs, 0.68–0.72 mm in diameter, each with a dense cluster of small oil droplets. The larvae hatch around sunset three to five days after fertilization.
The eggs and larvae are unpalatable to other species, presumably aiding their survival rate.  


May form schools of  more than 100 individuals, often with small numbers of the Blacksaddle Filefish, Paraluteres prionurus, which mimics the poisonous Blacksaddle Toby to gain protection from predators.
Juvenile Bluespotted Coral Trout, Plectropomus laevis, also mimic the Blacksaddle Toby.

Species Citation

Tetraodon valentini Bleeker, 1853, Natuurwet. Tijdschr. Ned.-Indië 4: 130. Type locality: Ambon Bay, Ambon, Molucca Islands, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Blacksaddle Toby, Canthigaster valentini (Bleeker 1853)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467043

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-55 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map