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 Freshwater puffers
 Brackish water puffers
 Seawater puffers
Characteristics of Sphoeroides testudineus

Sphoeroides testudineus

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11 Pictures of this fish from our forum users

scientific name

Sphoeroides testudineus

German Name


English Name

Turtle puffer or Checkered puffer


Tetraodon testudineus

First characterisation

1758 von Linnaeus


Fish size

~ 39 cm (30)


11 (7)




11 - 12 (8)


Obere Hälfte hat eine grünliche Grundfärbung die zum Bauch hin in ein helles gelb bzw. weiß mündet. Die obere Hälfte ist von hellen Linien netzförmig durchzogen wozwischen unregelmäßig einige dunkle Punkte zu finden sind. Letztes Drittel des Schwanzes ist dunkel gefärbt.

„A blunt-headed fish with heavy jaws forming a beak of 2 teeth in both upper and lower
jaws.Dorsal and anal fins set far back near caudal fin; dorsal fin usually with 8 soft rays (no spines), anal fin with 7 soft rays (no spines); pectoral fins usually with 15 rays; pelvic fins absent. Prickles covering most of body, but usually imbedded and not noticeable to the touch. Lappets absent. Colour: upper side chocolate brown to black, with light (yellow or white) bold markings, especially 1 or 2 distinct transverse bars
between eyes and a regular geometrical pattern of coarse arches and circular markings on back; belly white to yellow; lower sides heavily spotted. Size: Maximum to 300 mm; common to 200 mm.“ (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)

„Sphoeroides testudineus has a light honeycomb pattern on dorsal surface and one or two light bars in interorbital region. Snout is long and acute. Nostril is paired, and nares are located at end of short tubes. Interorbital space is moderately narrwo and flat to slightly moderately concave. Gill slit is arch shaped and slightly shorter than pectoral fin base. Gill rakers are very short and number 8 to 10. Measurements are expressed as percent of SL: head length 33%-38%, snout length 16%-19%, eye diameter 5%-10%, interorbital width 6%-8%, pectoral fin length 13%-17%, uninflated body depth 24%-27%. Pectoral fin has 13 to 16 (usually 14 or 15) rays. Dorsal fin has 7 to 9 rays. Spinules occur dorsally from interorbital region to dorsal fin origin, ventrally from chin to anus, and laterally in broad band behind pectoral fin. Color is dark gray to olive dorsally, with a network of circular tan to yellowish lines forming a honeycomb pattern; tan laterally, with pupil-sized dark round spots; and white ventrally.“ (McEachran (u.a.) 2005, S. 929)




Brackish - Sea water


23 °C - 26 °C



Additional fishfood information

Diese Art ernährt sich vor allem von Muscheln:

"Food consists of shellfishes.“ (McEachran (u.a.) 2005, S. 929)

"(...) feeds primarily on shellfish through most of its range" (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)


Diese Art kommt in der Natur vor allem in Seegraßwiesen, selten auch in Korallenriffen in Küstengewässern und Ästuarien vor.

"This species occurs in coastal waters, bays and estuaries (...) This species is associated with sea-grass beds and is rare on coral reefs.“ (McEachran (u.a.) 2005, S. 929)

„One of the most common fish species in mangrove areas and estuarine coastlines; confined to very shallow waters over mud or sand bottoms." (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)

"This species is one of the most abundant finfish species in mangrove areas of the Central American coast.“ (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)

Basin size

220 imp.gal.


"Does not school, but may form huge aggregations" (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)


Diese Art ist bewiesenermaßen giftig. Bei dem aus mehreren Tieren extrahierten Gift handelt es sich um Saxitoxin, was der Theorie widerspricht, dass dieses lediglich in Süßwasserkugelfischarten gefunden wird, während Meerwasserkugelfische das Gift Tetrodotoxin haben sollen. Diese Kugelfischart jedenfalls nimmt das Gift über eine Dinoflagellatenart auf:


„From January 2002 to May 2004, 28 puffer fish poisoning (PFP) cases in Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York were linked to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) in Florida. Saxitoxins (STXs) of unknown source were first identified in fillet remnants from a New Jersey PFP case in 2002. (...) We found STXs in 516 IRL southern (Sphoeroides nephelus), checkered (Sphoeroides testudineus), and bandtail (Sphoeroides spengleri) puffer fish. During 36 months of monitoring, we detected STXs in skin, muscle, and viscera, with concentrations up to 22,104 μg STX equivalents (eq)/100 g tissue (action level, 80 μg STX eq/100 g tissue) in ovaries. Puffer fish tissues, clonal cultures, and natural bloom samples of P. bahamense from the IRL tested toxic in the MBA, RBA, MNCA, Ridascreen ELISA, and MIST Alert assay and positive for STX, dc-STX, and B1 toxin by HPLC and LC-MS. Skin mucus of IRL southern puffer fish captive for 1-year was highly toxic compared to Florida Gulf coast puffer fish. Therefore, we confirm puffer fish to be a hazardous reservoir of STXs in Florida’s marine waters and implicate the dinoflagellate P. bahamense as the putative toxin source. (...) Associated with fatal paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the Pacific but not known to be toxic in the western Atlantic, P. bahamense is an emerging public health threat. We propose characterizing this food poisoning syndrome as saxitoxin puffer fish poisoning (SPFP) to distinguish it from PFP, which is traditionally associated with tetrodotoxin, and from PSP caused by STXs in shellfish. (...) for example, one woman died 45 min after consuming toxic liver from a checkered puffer fish (Sphoeroides testudineus) (...)“ (Landsberg u.a. 2006, S. 1502)

"(...) avoided where abundant, because of its toxicity; taken in beach and boat seines, fish traps, and on hook-and-line.Known to be lethally toxic to humans. Its principle utilization is as poison when fed to pest animals (cats, dogs, etc)." (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)

"Its toxic qualities are well known to artisinal fishermen.“ (Shipp 2002, S. 2004)

Last updated:

03-11-2007 20:39


20-04-2007 11:33


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