Long-spine porcupinefish

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Longspined porcupinefish
Diodon holocanthus 060417w.jpg
Scientific classification
D. holocanthus
Binomial name
Diodon holocanthus
Linnaeus, 1758
Long-spine porcupinefish.png
Distribution of the Long-Spine Porcupinefish

The longspined porcupine fish (Diodon holocanthus), also known as the freckled porcupinefish among other vernacular names, is a species of marine fish in the family Diodontidae.[2]


The species' diet includes sea urchins and hard-shelled mollusks.[3]


The Longspined porcupinefish has a circumtropical in distribution, being found in the tropical zones of major seas and oceans:


Conventional and X-ray images of Diodon holocanthus

The long-spine porcupinefish is pale in colour with large black blotches and smaller black spots; these spots becoming fewer in number with age. It has many long, two-rooted depressible spines particularly on its head. The teeth of the two jaws are fused into a parrot-like "beak". Adults may reach 50 cm (20 in) in length.[5] The only other fish with which it might be confused is the black-blotched porcupinefish (Diodon liturosus), but it has much longer spines than that species.[6]


The long-spine porcupine fish is an omnivore that feeds on mollusks, sea urchins, hermit crabs, snails, and crabs during its active phase at night.[7] They use their beak combined with plates on the roof of their mouths to crush their prey such as mollusks and sea urchins that would otherwise be indigestible.[8]


They are found over the muddy sea bottom, in estuaries, in lagoons or on coral and rocky reefs around the world in tropical and subtropical seas.[9]


Spawns at the surface at dawn or at dusk in pairs or in groups of males with a single female; the juveniles remain pelagic until they are at least 7 cm (3 in) long.[5] Young and sub-adult fish sometimes occur in groups.


It is used in Chinese medicine,[citation needed] and is captured at the surface with a hand net.[citation needed] It is poisonous if not prepared correctly. It is also found in the aquarium trade.


  1. ^ Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Shao, K.-T., Hardy, G., Zapfe, G., Liu, M., Jing, L., Tyler, J. & Robertson, R. (2015). Diodon holocanthus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T193817A2282138.en
  2. ^ "Common Names List – Diodon holocanthus". FishBase. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  3. ^ Tristan Lougher (2006). What Fish?: A Buyer's Guide to Marine Fish. Interpet Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84286-118-9.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "diodon holocanthus" in FishBase. 6 2007 version.
  5. ^ a b Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. (2004) Coral reef guide; Red Sea London, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-715986-2
  6. ^ "Black-blotched porcupinefish: Diodon liturosus Shaw, 1804". Australian Museum. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  7. ^ Leis, J.M., 2001. Diodontidae. Porcupine fishes (burrfishes). p. 3958-3965. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome.
  8. ^ "Porcupinefishes". Australian museum. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  9. ^ Kuiter, R.H. and T. Tonozuka, (2001). Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 3. Jawfishes – Sunfishes, Opistognathidae – Molidae. Zoonetics, Australia. pp. 623–893.

External links[edit]

Media related to Diodon holocanthus at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to Diodon holocanthus at Wikispecies