Balloonfish

Balloonfish

Scientific Classification

Common Name
balloonfish
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Osteichthyes
Order
Tetraodontiformes
Family
Diodontidae
Genus Species
Diodon holocanthus

Fast Facts

Description
Tan teardrop-shaped body with brown blotches and black spots over entire length. Long spines (typically seen lowered) are found over entire body surface, starting at the forehead. Eyes are large and pronounced with yellow irises. Iridescent blue-green specks may be seen within pupil. Brown band runs over forehead, from eye to eye. Fins are clear. Rounded caudal fin.
Size
20.3 to 35.6 cm (8 to 14 in.) avg; 50.8 cm (20 in.) max
Diet
Mollusks, crabs, and urchins
Incubation
Species exhibits dioecism. Fertilization is external. Spawning primarily occurs in late spring and early summer.
Range
Western Atlantic: Florida to Brazil
Eastern Atlantic: Morocco to Angola and South Africa
Western IndoPacific: Micronesia and Australia to Africa
Western Central Pacific: Hawaii, Pitcairn, and Easter islands
Eastern Pacific: southern California to Colombia and the Galapagos
Habitat
2 to 100 meters (7 to 330 ft) in tropical & sub-tropical marine coastal waters
Population
Global: No data
Status 
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. When threatened or frightened, the balloonfish will take in water – thereby noticeably expanding its overall body size. In this inflated state, its spines stand erect. The spines and the enlarged size can prove intimidating to potential predators. 
  2. Throughout certain Pacific island communities, the balloonfish was historically fashioned as a helmet.
  3. For more information about bony fishes, explore the Bony Fishes InfoBook. 

Ecology and Conservation

No data


Bibliography

Bond, Carl E. Biology of Fishes - Second Edition. Saunders College Publishing, 1996.

Humann, Paul. Reef Fish Identification - Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc., 1992.

fishbase.org

flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/Porcupine/Porcupine.htm