Inhabits shallow reefs to open, soft bottoms . Also in areas with rocky substrata . Sometimes forms groups. Juveniles pelagic to about 6-9 cm. Solitary. Feeds on mollusks, sea urchins, hermit crabs, and crabs at night. A relatively poor swimmer . Used in Chinese medicine. Captured at the surface using a hand net .
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Afrikaans:
Common Names in Bikol:
Common Names in Carolinian:
Common Names in Cebuano:
Buriring, Butete, Tagotong
Common Names in Chavacano:
Lukoh Itingan, Tagutugan
Common Names in Creole, French:
Common Names in Creole, Portuguese:
Common Names in Danish:
Common Names in Davawenyo:
Common Names in English:
Ajargo, Balloon Porcupinefish, Balloonfish, Baloon Porcupinefish, Baloon Pufferfish, Baloonfish, Bloched Porcupine Fish, Blotched Moray, Blotched Porcupine, Blotched Porcupinefish, Brown Porcupine Fish, Brown Porcupinefish, Fine-Spotted Porcupinefish, Freckled Porcupinefish, Hairy Porcupinefish, Hedgehog Fish, Long-Spine Porcupinefish, Long-Spined Porcupine Fish, Longspine Porcupinefish, Porcupine, Porcupinefish, Spiny Balloonfish, Spiny Porcupinefish, Spiny Puffer, Spiny Pufferfish
Common Names in Fijian:
Common Names in French:
Petit Porc-, Porc-, Souffleur
Common Names in German:
Bunte Limia, Igelfisch
Common Names in Hawaiian:
O´opu, O'opu, Okala
Common Names in Hiligaynon:
Common Names in Ilokano:
Common Names in Japanese:
Common Names in Konkani:
Common Names in Korean:
Common Names in Malay:
Buntal Landak, Buntel Duren
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
Li, 九斑刺魨, 九斑刺鲀, 六斑二齒魨, 六斑二齿鲀, 六斑刺魨, 六斑刺鲀, 刺規, 刺规, 气瓜仔, 氣瓜仔
Common Names in Maranao/Samal/Tao Su:
Common Names in Polish:
Common Names in Portuguese:
Baiacu, Baiacu De Espinho, Baiacu-De-Espinho, Crum, Peixe-Ouri
Common Names in Somali:
Common Names in Spanish:
Guan, Pejerizo, Pejerizo Bal, Pez Eriso, Pez Erizo, Pez Erizo Bal, Pez Erizo Mapache, Puercoesp, Tamboril Negro, Tamborillo
Common Names in Swahili:
Bunju, Bunju Nungu, Puju
Common Names in Swedish:
Common Names in Tagalog:
Boteteng Laot, Botiting Laot, Buktit, Buteteng Laot, Ganutan
Common Names in Tahitian:
Areva, Aufa, Totara
Common Names in Waray-waray:
Species Diodon holocanthus
Distinctive Features: The body is covered in long, sharp spines that stick out when the fish inflates. The balloonfish inflates by taking water into its body when it is threatened. All members of the family Diodontidae are capable of inflation. Along with inflation, there may also be a color change due to the excitement.
The balloonfish is distinguished from similar species by the large, dark blotches on the sides and back that dominate its color pattern and the small black spots interspersed between them. Unlike its relative, the porcupinefish (Diodon hystrix), these small spots do not extend onto the fins . See Diodon key for further information. The balloonfish has a brown bar above and below each eye. The anal , dorsal, and pectoral fins are mainly used for navigating through corals at a slow speed .
This species commonly grows to lengths of 8-14 inches (20-35 cm), reaching a maximum of 20 inches (50 cm).
Adult balloonfishes occur on shallow reefs amongst mangroves and in open bottom areas including seagrass beds and rocky substrates. Swimming closely to the bottom, they are found at depths ranging from 6-35 feet (2-100m) below the surface of the water. May be found at depths of 2 to 100 meters. Usually found at depths of 2 to 35 meters.
Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -5,500 meters (0 to -18,045 feet).
Biome: Marine .
Balloonfish are nocturnal predators , generally hiding in crevices during the day. The teeth are fused together into a single unit , creating a strong , beak-like mouth capable of cracking the shells of snails, sea urchins, and hermit crabs.
The balloonfish has a pelagic, or open-ocean, life stage. Spawning occurs after males slowly push females to the water surface. The eggs are spherical and buoyant , floating in the water. Hatching occurs roughly after four days. The larvae are predominately yellow with scattered red spots. They are well developed with a functional mouth , eyes, and a swim bladder. Larvae less than ten days old are covered with a thin shell . After the first ten days, the shell is lost and the spines begin to develop. The larvae undergo a metamorphosis approximately three weeks after hatching. During this time, all the fins and fin rays are present and the teeth are formed. The red and yellow colors of the larvae do not persist into the juvenile phase and are replaced by the olives and browns, characteristic of adults . Dark spots also appear on the juvenile's underside. Pelagic juveniles are often associated with floating sargassum, and these spots may serve as camouflage from predators such as dolphin that swim below the seaweeds. Juveniles retain spotting until they move inshore and become adults. The juvenile balloonfish does not undergo another metamorphosis to become an adult. All changes now are external and include elongation of the spines and normal body growth.
Juvenile balloonfish are consumed by many pelagic predatory fishes , most notably tunas and dolphins . Adults fall prey to sharks .
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Huxley, 1880
- Huxley, 1880
- Suborder: Tetraodontoidei () -
- Order: Tetraodontiformes ()
- Superorder: Acanthopterygii ()
- Cohort: Clupeocephala ()
- Infraclass: Actinopteri ()
- Subclass: Actinopterygii ()
- Class: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Superclass: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Atopomycterus bocagei Steindachner • Diodon holacanthus Linnaeus • Diodon hystrix holocanthus Linnaeus • Diodon hystrix Linnaeus • Diodon liturosus Shaw • Diodon maculifer Kaup • Diodon multimaculatus Cuvier • Diodon novemaculatus Cuvier • Diodon novemmaculatus Cuvier • Diodon paraholocanthus Kotthaus • Diodon pilosus Mitchill • Diodon quadrimaculatus Cuvier • Diodon sexmaculatus Cuvier • Paradiodon quadrimaculatus (Cuvier • Trichodiodon pilosus (Mitchill
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 08-Aug-1995
Members of the genus Diodon
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 18 species and subspecies in this genus:
D. antennatus (Bridled Burrfish) · D. atringa (Spotted Burrfish) · D. calori (Four-Bar Porcupinefish) · D. echinatus (Whispy Burrfish) · D. eydouxii (Pelagic Porcupinefish) · D. fuliginosus (Black Burrfish) · D. histrix (Black-Spotted Porcupinefish) · D. holacanthus (Black-Spotted Porcupinefish) · D. holocanthus (Ajargo) · D. hystrix (Ajargo) · D. jaculiferus (Long-Spined Porcupinefish) · D. liturosus (Black Blotched Porcupinefish) · D. nicthemerus (Slender-Spined Porcupine Fish) · D. nycthemerus (Slender-Spined Porcupine Fish) · D. orbicularis (Orbicular Burrfish) · D. reticulatus (Few-Spined Porcupinefish) · D. rivulatus (Striped Burrfish) · D. totara (Longfin Lanternfish)
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- FishBase. Release date: January 5, 2010
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 15, 2007:
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data
- Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of Nature Fish Collection
- FishBase, FishBase DiGIR Provider - Philippine Server
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Atlantic Reference Centre
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Bishop Museum Data
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- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Canadian Museum of Nature - Fish Collection
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, ECNASAP - East Coast North America Strategic Assessment
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, SeamountsOnline
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity - Fish Collection
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, iziko South African Museum - Fish Collection
- Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Vertebrate specimens
- Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Ichtyologie
- Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, MCZ Fish Collection
- National Chemical Laboratory, IndOBIS, Indian Ocean Node of OBIS
- Provider, Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums
- Royal Ontario Museum, Fish specimens
- Senckenberg, Collection Pisces
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- , Fishes
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- UNIBIO, IBUNAM, CNPE/Coleccion Nacional de Peces
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 3863490
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-31054
- Fishbase Species ID: 4659
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 14379322
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 173392
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 100722
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- Mean = -572.620 meters (-1,878.675 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,260.450 based on 453 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]