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Species: Chilomycterus spinosus spinosus, Brown burrfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

diffuse light spots + 3 large dark rings
spines few, short, immovable
juv: black + orange spine tips

Chilomycterus spinosus spinosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Brown burrfish

Body rotund, can be inflated; head wide and blunt; eyes large; any tentacle over eye is smaller than eye; nasal organ a short, hollow tentacle with 2 openings; teeth fused into a strong, parrot-like beak with two plates that lack a front groove, large, opens widely at front; gill opening a vertical slit before pectoral base; pectorals large; fins without spines; tail fin with 9 (9-10) rays; no pelvic fins; body and head covered with relatively few, short (< eye), fixed, 3-rooted spines that are triangular and flattened in cross-section, and, in some cases reduced to plates under skin; no spines wholly on tail base.

Brown, with diffuse light spots and 3 large dark rings on back and sides (above and behind pectoral and under dorsal fin base); no thin dark lines or black spots on body or fins; Young are black with orange-yellow spine tips.

Size: grows to about 25 cm.

Inhabits reefs.

Depth: 0-200 m.

Georgia to Argentina.

Note: The subspecies C. spinosus mauretanicus occurs at W Africa.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • All species..
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • Extends South of GC
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 200