Globefish, Diodon nicthemerus Cuvier 1818

Other Names: Blow Up, Globe Fish, Porcupinefish, Slender-spined Porcupinefish, Southern Porcupinefish

A Globefish, Diodon nicthemerus. Source: Mark Norman / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution


A common porcupinefish with 3-4 dark vertical bands or blotches on the sides, and long white to yellowish spines that usually lie flat against the body.

When threatened, globefish rapidly inflate themselves with water or air to become spherical in shape. This causes the spines to stand out from the body, making it very difficult for predators to attack.

A large school of Globefish in southern Australia.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Diodon nicthemerus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2020,

Globefish, Diodon nicthemerus Cuvier 1818

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southern Australia from Seal Rocks, New South Wales to about Fremantle, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Common and widespread in a range of habitats, prefering sheltered reefs, and often seen in weedy areas, around jetties and pylons, in depths of 0-85 m.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin rays 12-13; Anal fin rays 12-14; Caudal fin rays 9
Pectoral fin rays 19-21.


To 30 cm, although most grow to about 15 cm.


Body brown to greyish on top, white below, covered in long white to yellow spines and 3-4 dark vertical bands or blotches on sides.


Carnivores - usually feeds on hard-shelled invertebrates that live on the bottom.


Females spawn pelagic eggs and the larvae pass through a pelagic juvenile phase.




Some species belonging to the family Diodontidae have the poison tetrodotoxin in their internal organs. 

Species Citation

Diodon nicthemerus Cuvier, 1818, Mém. Mus. Nat. d'Hist. Nat. 4: 135, pl. 2. Type locality: Australia


Dianne J. Bray

Globefish, Diodon nicthemerus Cuvier 1818


Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl [210, as Diodon blochii].

Cuvier, G.L. 1818. Sur les diodons, vulgairement orbes épineux. Mémoires du Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 4: 121-138 2 pls.

Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 2008. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

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

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

Leis, J.M. 1978. Systematics and zoogeography of the porcupinefishes (Diodon, Diodontidae, Tetraodontiformes), with comments on egg and larval development. Fishery Bulletin (U.S.) 76(3): 535-567 figs 1-28.

Leis, J.M. & Bauchot, M.L. 1984. Catalogue critique des types de Poissons du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle. (Famille des Diodontidae). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 4 6(A)(3): 83-101.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37469001

Depth:0-85 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm (usually 15 cm)

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CAAB distribution map