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Triggerfishes Pufferfishes and Relatives: Tetraodontiformes

Spotted Toby (canthigaster Solandri): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Spotted tobies have a thick oval body, a long snout, prickles on the belly, and a rounded tail fin. They are orangish red with blue spots. The belly is white. There is a black spot ringed in pale blue directly below the base of the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is short and white with a black base. The anal fin also is short. The skin contains a poison. Spotted tobies grow to a length of about 4 inches (10 centimeters).

Geographic range: Spotted tobies live in the western parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Habitat: Spotted tobies live mainly in reefs.

Diet: Spotted tobies eat invertebrates and algae.

To protect themselves from predators, spotted tobies rapidly fill themselves up like a water balloon. (Kelvin Aitkin-V&W/Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: To protect themselves from predators, spotted tobies rapidly fill themselves up like a water balloon. They usually pair up but also live alone or in groups. They swim over a home range looking for food. They also swim up into open water. Pairs of spotted tobies lay eggs on algae growing on dead coral and rocks. The eggs are poisonous, and the fish do not take care of them. The larvae float in open water.

Spotted tobies and people: Spotted tobies are collected for aquariums.

Conservation status: Spotted tobies are not threatened or endangered. ∎



Allen, Missy, and Michel Peissel. Dangerous Water Creatures. New York: Chelsea House, 1992.

Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Niesen, Thomas M. The Marine Biology Coloring Book. 2nd ed. New York: HarperResource, 2000.

Ricciuti, Edward R. Fish. Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch, 1993.

Web sites:

"Marine Life Profile: Clown Triggerfish." Waikiki Aquarium Education Department. http://waquarium.mic.hawaii.edu/MLP/root/pdf/MarineLife/Vertebrates/ClownTriggerfish.pdf (accessed on November 9, 2004).

"Pufferfish." All Science Fair Projects. http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/science_fair_projects_encyclopedia/Pufferfish (accessed on November 9, 2004).

"Pufferfish Found to Contain Saxitoxin." Neuroscience for Kids. http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/puffer.html (accessed on November 9, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesTriggerfishes Pufferfishes and Relatives: Tetraodontiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Clown Triggerfish (balistoides Conspicillum): Species Accounts, White-spotted Puffer (arothron Hispidus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANG