Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Colomesus psittacus, Banded Puffer, Parrot Puffer

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head & body ~6 dark bars
C bluntly rounded



Colomesus psittacus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Banded Puffer, Parrot Puffer

Body stout, inflatable; snout short, bluntly pointed; mouth with a heavy beak, composed of two teeth on upper and lower jaws; nasal organs consist of 2 holes before eyes; dorsal, anal and tail fins rounded; dorsal and anal fins with 10-12 rays; pectoral fins 17-19 rays; no pelvic fins; tough, thick scaleless skin, prickles on upper and lower head and body; no skin flaps on body.

Color: light green to yellowish brown above; 5-6 marked, uniform dark bars on upper half of body and across back, 1st across eyes, last on base of tail; lower body and tail base whitish.

Reaches 35 cm

In brackish and marine habitats, occasionally in freshwater.

Depth range 0-30 m

The SE Caribbean to Brazil.

Note: C. asellus, a freshwater species found in the same areas as C. psittacus, is similarly colored, but with the underside of the tail base black.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 35
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 30