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Flat or Spiky, All the time Poisonous

Puffed up porcupinefish (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

11 July 2022

This spiky ball, a pufferfish, is so toxic that if eaten it can kill 30 adult humans.

There are more than 260 species of pufferfish in two families, almost all of which are toxic: Diodontidae and Tetraodontidae. The spiky ones are aptly called porcupinefish.

They don’t swim fast so their main defense is to blow up into an unappetizing ball. When fully extended their buoyancy changes and they involuntarily roll onto their backs, exposing their white bellies. In this position they can still swim with tiny fins.

How do pufferfish blow themselves up? Why are they toxic? Who eats them? This video explains it all.

And though they are spiky, they somehow they manage to look cute.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

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