Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Sphoeroides trichocephalus, Dwarf puffer, Pygmy puffer

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wide & convex between eyes
snout short, steep
back: white spots
dark pectoral base

Sphoeroides trichocephalus (Cope, 1870)

Pygmy puffer, Dwarf puffer

Body relatively robust, height 33-40% of SL; wide and convex between eyes; snout short (< 38% of head length), steep;  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 and anal fins 7-8; no pelvic fins; no spines in the fins; tail fin edge usually straight to convex, with 10 main rays; tough scaleless skin,  small spines on forehead, breast and belly, rest of body smooth; no skin flaps.

Olive or brownish, with small white spots; ~ 5 dark cross-bars on back; silvery white on lower sides; pectoral base dark.

Size: grows to at least 12.6 cm.

Lives in turbid bays, usually on soft sandy and silty bottoms.

Depth: 1-10 m.

The Tres Marias Islands (Mexico) to Chile, and strays to the Galapagos.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • No Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Benthic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • Mexican + Panamic provinces endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 12.6
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 10