National Aquarium – Striped burrfish

Striped Burrfish

Chilomycterus schoepfi

DID YOU KNOW?

Burrfish are covered with short, heavy spines that are always erect.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Washington - National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks Gallery

Add to Trip Planner

National Aquarium – Striped burrfish National Aquarium – Striped burrfish National Aquarium – Striped burrfish

Striped Burrfish

Striped burrfish have large heads and widely spaced bulging eyes.

They are brownish in color, with large dark splotches along their bodies. Their eyes are golden-yellow with iridescent blue-green specks in the pupils.

Burrfish are covered with short, heavy spines that are always erect—unlike their cousins the porcupinefish, which have movable spines.

They move by undulating or waving their pectoral fins and tails rather than by bending the entire body.

Striped burrfish, like all of the burrfish and pufferfish, can take in water to inflate their bodies when threatened.

Diet

In the wild they use their powerful beak-like jaws to eat small fish, barnacles, snails, crabs, and clams.

They have been observed swallowing hermit crabs whole—shell and all.

Size

Striped burrfish usually grow to 10 inches long.

Range

Striped burrfish are abundant from the northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. They live in seagrass beds in bays and coastal lagoons and over shallow coastal reefs from Maine to Florida, although they are less common in the northern part of the range.

Population Status

Striped burrfish are common throughout their range.

Predators

Not many predators can get past the burrfish’s formidable spines when it puffs up to full size.

This species is of no commercial value to fisheries, although it is sometimes collected for the pet trade.

Back to the Top

A Note From the Caretaker

The striped burrfish has a hard palate it uses to crush hard-shelled prey.