Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei (Fréminville 1813)

Other Names: Common Toado, Globefish, Prickly Toadfish, Prickly Toado

A Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A pale greyish-green, yellowish or greyish-blue pufferfish, becoming silvery-white below, with darker spots and blotches on the back and upper sides, sometimes forming irregular bars across the back, and a pale anal fin.
Pufferfishes are poisonous and should never be eaten or fed to pets.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Contusus richei in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei (Fréminville 1813)

More Info


Clarence River, northern New South Wales, around southern Australia, to the Recherche Archipelago at the western end of the Great Australian Bight, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand. 
Inhabits muddy, shelly, sandy, seagrass and weedy areas in clear coastal waters, along with bays and estuaries, where it may occur under piers and around pylons.


Dorsal fin 9-11; Anal fin 8-10; Caudal fin 11; Pectoral fin 14-17.
Body robust, somewhat rounded, densely covered in small spines that extend onto tail base; dorsal and anal fins ending well short of tail base; lower edge of eyes level with top of pectoral-fin base. 


In New Zealand, the species attains sexual maturity at two years of age, and reaches a maximum age of seven years.In the South Island of New Zealand, females grew faster, attained a larger size, and lived longer than males (Habib 1977).


Occasionally taken as incidental bycatch in trawl fisheries in southern and eastern Australia.Historic records of seine casts at the mouths of rivers in Tasmania contained 400–500 individuals. Likewise, trawl catches off the Tasmanian coast included several hundred individuals (Hardy 1981).

Similar Species

The Barred Toadfish differs from the similar Prickly Toadfish, Contusus brevicaudus, in having a longer caudal peduncle, shorter dorsal and anal fins that never reach the tail base when folded back (vs. reaching or almost reaching the tail when folded back in C. brevicaudus), and the lower border of the eye is level with the upper part of the pectoral-fin base (vs. well above in C. brevicaudus).

Species Citation

Tetrodon richei Fréminville, 1813, Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomatique de Paris Histoire naturelle. Zoologie 3(67): 250, pl. 4(2). Type locality: Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia ('du port de la Recherche, sur les côtes de la terre de Nyts' = Recherche Archipelago, Nuytsland, Western Australia - the far western end of the Great Australian Bight).


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei (Fréminville 1813)


Ayling, T. & Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins Guide to the Seafishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Collins 343 pp. 48 pls 475 figs.

Beentjes, P., Bull, B., Hurst, R.J. & Bagley, N.W. 2002. Demersal fish assemblages along the continental shelf and upper slope of the east coast of the South Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 197-223.

Bleeker, P. 1855. Over eenige visschen van Van Diemensland. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen (Amsterdam) 2(7): 1-30 + 31, 1 pl. See ref at BHL

Edgar, G.J. 1991. Seasonal distribution patterns of fishes within the Bathurst Harbour estuary, southwestern Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 125 37-44, DOI: 10.26749/rstpp.125.37

Fraser-Brunner, A. 1943. Notes on the plectognath fishes. VIII. The classification of the suborder Tetraodontoidea, with a synopsis of the genera. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 11 10(1): 1-18 figs 1-4 (as Amblyrhynchotes richei)

Fréminville, C.P.P. 1813. Description de quelques nouvelles espèces des Poissons de l'ordre des Branchiosteges. Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomatique de Paris Histoire naturelle. Zoologie 3(67): 249-253. See ref at BHL

Habib, G. 1976. Measuring growth in irregularly shaped otolith by means of a planimeter. New Zealand Natural Sciences Journal 4 (Mauri Ora 1976): 133-137 See ref online

Habib, G. 1977. Population and food of the pufferfish Uranostoma richei (Plectognathi: Lagocephalidae) from Lyttelton Harbour. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 11(3): 489-500

Habib, G. 1979. Reproductive biology of the pufferfish, Uranostoma richei (Plectognathi: Lagocephalidae), from Lyttelton harbour. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 13(1): 71-78

Hardy, G.S. 1981. A redescription of the pufferfish Contusus richei (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and description of a second species of Contusus. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 8: 11-23 figs 1-3

Hardy, G.S. 1994. Family Tetraodontidae. pp. 902-912, figs 795-804 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Jenkins, G.P., May, H.M.A., Wheatley, M.J., Holloway, M.G. 1997. Comparison of fish assemblages associated with seagrass and adjacent unvegetated habitats of Port Phillip Bay and Corner Inlet, Victoria, Australia, with emphasis on commercial species. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 44: 569–588.  

Jenkins, G.P., Wheatley, M.J. 1998. The influence of habitat structure on nearshore fish assemblages in a southern Australian embayment: Comparison of shallow seagrass, reef-algal and unvegetated sand habitats, with emphasis on their importance to recruitment. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 221: 147-172.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

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.

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Liu, M., Matsuura, K., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Shao, K. 2014. Contusus richei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193792A2277598. Downloaded on 12 October 2019.

Matsuura, K. 2008. Families Ostraciidae, Tetraodontidae. pp. 842-856 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Paul, L.J. 1992. Age and growth studies of New Zealand marine fishes, 1921-90: a review and bibliography. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 43: 879-912.

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Stewart, A.L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. 248 Family Tetraodontidae. pp. 1730-1740 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

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

Waite, E.R. 1904. A synopsis of the fishes of New South Wales. Memoirs of the New South Wales Naturalists' Club 2: 1-59 (as Sphaeroides richeiSee ref at BHL

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1 (as Tetraodon richeiSee ref at BHL

Whitley, G.P. 1947. New sharks and fishes from Western Australia. Part 3. The Australian Zoologist 11(2): 129-150 figs 1-3 pl. 11 See ref at BHL

Whitley, G.P. 1970. Ichthyological quiddities. The Australian Zoologist 15(3): 242-247 (as Uranostoma richeiSee ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-55 m

Habitat:Sandy, weedy areas

Max Size:19 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map