(Diodon hystrix)


The porcupinefish is a large pufferfish that ranges in color from olive to brown with a pale underside. It has small fins and dark spots over its entire body. It’s also covered in long spines, which lie flat against its body until it’s threatened and swallows water until it’s body inflates like a round balloon and the spines pop out.

Because this species feeds on hard-shelled prey, it has strong jaws and beak-like teeth.

A Note from the Caretaker

The porcupinefish at the National Aquarium routinely visit the veterinarians to have their teeth filed. This ensures their beak-like teeth do not grow too long.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the porcupinefish! Did you know that the porcupinefish gets its name from the sharp spines that stick out all over its body when it inflates with water?

This species can be found on coral reefs in tropical and subtropical seas around the world.

Porcupinefish eat sea urchins, gastropods and crustaceans like clams and snails.

A porcupinefish can grow to up to 3 feet long.

This species is not believed to be threatened.

Sharks and other large fish prey on porcupinefish, but their defenses ensure they are rarely a meal.

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