Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Arothron meleagris, Guineafowl puffer

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black + dense white spots
yellow (sometimes + irregular dark blotches)

Arothron meleagris (Lacepède, 1798)

Guineafowl Puffer

Body heavy, round; head large, blunt; snout short; nasal organ is a double tentacle, with minute pits on opposing surfaces of each tentacle; eyes high on sides of head; jaws are a heavy 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 below the dorsal; dorsal rays 11-12; anal rays 11-12; pectoral rays 17-19; no pelvic fins; no spines in the fins; tail base as long as deep; tail fin rounded, with 10 main rays; tough scaleless skin, covered with small spinules, no fleshy skin flaps.

Two main color phases, with some fish showing parts of both: black with numerous small white spots, which occasionally coalesce into wriggly white lines; or bright yellow, sometimes with black patches.

Size: grows to 40 cm.

Inhabits coral areas and rocky reefs.

Depth: 1-80 m.

Widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific; the SW Gulf of California to Ecuador and all the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine Only
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Freshwater
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef only
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Hard corals
  • Detritus
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Soft corals/hydroids
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Benthic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • All species
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 80