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Species: Sphoeroides parvus, Least Puffer

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snout short
many spots & blotches, darker row on lower side
prickes: head & body to D & anus, cheek
no skin flaps
pectoral 14-15

Sphoeroides parvus Shipp & Yerger, 1969

Least Puffer

Body oblong, thick, inflatable; head blunt; snout short; 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 14-15 (rarely 13 or16; no pelvic fins; no spines in the fins; tail fin edge bluntly straight, with 10 main rays; tough scaleless skin, no skin flaps; prickles on skin from snout (extending forward to between nasal papillae) to near dorsal fin and from chin to near anus, also on side of cheek.

Light brown to grey above, with numerous spots and blotches, especially on lower flank where they form an irregular row; a spot inside the axil of the pectoral fin is not darker than other spots; flank pale.

Size: 15 cm.

Habitat: demersal on sand and mud bottoms.

Depth: 5-50 m.

The Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • Gulf of Mexico endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 50