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Species: Sphoeroides dorsalis, Marbled puffer

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head long, slender
1 pr black skin flaps on back
flank 1-5 diffuse dark blotches
male: cheeks marbled
upper body - prickles back to D
C slightly concave

Sphoeroides dorsalis Longley, 1934

Marbled puffer

Body elongate, inflatable; head relatively long and slender; nasal organ on each side a short papilla with 2 small holes at end; eyes high on sides of head; jaws are a strong beak composed of 4 fused heavy powerful teeth with a central suture on each jaw; a slit-like gill opening in front of the pectoral fin base; a single short- based dorsal fin at rear of body; a similar-shaped anal fin with origin under or behind last few dorsal rays; dorsal rays 8, anal rays 7; pectoral usually 16; no pelvic fins; no spines in the fins; tail fin slightly concave, with 10 main rays; tough scaleless skin, 1 pair of skin flaps on back, midway between eye and dorsal fin; upper body skin with prickles from snout back to dorsal fin.

Grey to light brown; 1 pair of black skin flaps on upper back; 1-5 diffuse dark blotches on side behind pectoral fin; males with scrawl markings on cheek.

Size: 17.5 cm.

Habitat: demersal on soft bottoms.

Depth: 20-324 m.

North Carolina to Surinam.


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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Benthic
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC endemic
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 17.5
Depth Range Min
  • 20
Depth Range Max
  • 324