Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
|Triodon macropterus, with extended belly flap|
G. Cuvier, 1829
Triodon macropterus, also known as the threetooth puffer, is a tetraodontiform fish, the only living species in the genus Triodon and family Triodontidae. Other members of the family are known from fossils stretching back to the Eocene.
It is native to the Indo-Pacific, where it is found at depths to 300 m (980 ft). Its name comes from the Ancient Greek τρι- (tri-, meaning 'three') and ὀδούς (or ὀδών, odoús, odṓn, meaning 'tooth'), and refers to the three fused teeth making up a beak-like structure.
The threetooth puffer reaches a maximum length of 54 cm (21 in). It has a distinctive shape, with a huge belly flap as large as or larger than its body; it inflates this with seawater when threatened. The flap bears an eye-spot, and is inflated by rotating the shaft-like pelvis downwards. This makes the animal appear much larger to predators, and less likely to be eaten.
The threetooth puffer is also known as the black-spot keeled pufferfish, and was first scientifically described by Lesson in 1831.
Drawing by Cuvier
- Matsuura, K. (2014): Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research, 62 (1): 72-113.
- Matsuura, K. & Tyler, J.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 230. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Triodon macropterus" in FishBase. February 2015 version.
- Gomon, M.F. & Dianne J. Bray, D.J. (2011): Threetooth Puffer, Triodon macropterus, Fishes of Australia.
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