Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Diodon hystrix, Spotfin porcupinefish

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snout spines < body spines
tail base: 1-2 spines
many large erectile spines
D & A rounded
body & fins spotted

Diodon hystrix Linnaeus, 1758


Spotfin porcupinefish


Body robust, inflatable; head wide and blunt; no barbells on chin; eyes large; nasal organ a flat short 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 fin 15-17; anal rays 14-16; dorsal and anal fins rounded; pectoral rays 22-25 (rarely 21); body and head covered with numerous long (> eye), erectible, 2-rooted, slender, round spines; 16-20 erectile spines in an approximate row from top of snout to dorsal fin; 14-19 spines between lower jaw and anus; spines anteriorly at front of head shorter than longest spines posterior to pectoral fins; 1-2 small spines dorsally on tail base.

Light grey brown dorsally shading to white ventrally; upper body and dorsal, anal and tail fins with small black spots; body without large dark blotches.

Maximum length: 91 cm.

Adults inhabits coral or rocky reefs, juveniles occur in estuaries in our region.

Depth: 1-135 m.

Circumtropical distribution; southern California to the lower Gulf of California to Chile and all the oceanic islands.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Sessile crustacea
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sessile molluscs
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
  • All species
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • 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)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 91
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 135