Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Chilomycterus reticulatus, Spotfin burrfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

spines few, short, immovable, 1-2 atop tail base
head, body & fins: black spots
juv: blue, spots larger & sparser

Chilomycterus reticulatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Spotfin burrfish

Body rotund, can be inflated; head wide and blunt; eyes large; nasal organ an open pitted cup (in juveniles a 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; no pelvic fins; dorsal rays 12-14; anal rays 11-14; pectoral rays 19-22; tail fin with 10 rays; body and head covered with relatively few,short (< eye), fixed, 3-rooted spines (4 roots on head) that are triangular and flattened in cross-section, and, in some cases reduced to plates under skin, ~ 8-10 in an approximate row from snout to dorsal fin; top of tail base with 1-2 spines.

Grey on back grading to whitish ventrally; scattered black spots on head and upper body; small dark spots on median fins; also several diffuse, dusky brown bars on head and body; no thin dark lines on body. Juvenile: similar to adult, but with a blue cast to body, body spots larger and sparser, fin spots restricted to fin bases.

Size: grows to about 75 cm; the young lead a pelagic existence until about 20 cm.

Inhabits coral and rocky reefs, but also trawled on soft bottoms.

Depth: 1-141 m.

Circumtropical and with a largely temperate distribution; California to the Baja, and the southwest and central eastern Gulf of California to Chile, and all the oceanic islands except Clipperton.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Corals
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef and soft bottom
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 75
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 141