Family Triodontidae 508threetooth puffers Marine Indo West Pacific

Three fused teeth in jaws (upper jaw with a median suture, the lower without); pelvis present; dorsal and anal fins usually with 11 rays (a small spiny dorsal fin of one or two rays is present in most specimens from Indonesia to Japan); ribs and epipleurals present; caudal fin with 12 principal rays and numerous procurrent rays, deeply forked. Maximum length about 48 cm. An Eocene fossil, Triodon antiquus, is very similar to the one extant species. One species, Triodon macropterus (synonym bursarius) (e.g., K. Matsuura in Carpenter and Niem, 2001).

Family TETRAODONTIDAE (509)—puffers. Marine, with several entering and occurring in brackish and freshwater; tropical and subtropical; Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.

Body inflatable; body naked or with only short prickles (often confined to belly); four fused teeth in jaws (teeth in each jaw fused but separated by a median suture); premaxillae and dentaries not fused to opposite member at midline; dorsal and anal fins usually each with 7-18 soft rays (many more in Chonerhinos and Xenopterus); ribs and epineurals absent; caudal fin with 10 principal rays and no procurrent rays, moderately forked to rounded.

The "flesh" (especially the viscera) of some puffers contains the alkaloid poison tetrao do toxin, produced by the fish, which can be fatal. In at least some species, the gonads at spawning time contain the highest concentration of this poison; none occurs in the muscle.

About 12 species of Carinotetraodon, Chonerhinos, and Tetraodon occur only in freshwater, primarily in the Congo River and in southern Asia. Maximum length 90 cm; most much less.

Nineteen genera with about 130 species (e.g., K. Matsuura in Carpenter and Niem, 2001).

Subfamily Tetraodontinae. Body broadly rounded in cross section; one or two conspicuous nostrils on each side; lateral line usually conspicuous; gill opening usually extending below midportion of pectoral fin; erectable ridge of skin on dorsal and ventral midline only in Carinotetraodon (which is probably related to Canthigaster, placed in the next subfamily); vertebrae 17-29.

About eighteen genera (e.g., Amblyrhynchotes, Arothron, Carinotetraodon, Colomesus, Contusus, Feroxodon, Javichthys, Lagocephalus, Omegophora, Sphoeroides, Takifugu (synonym Fugu), Tetraodon (see Eschmeyer, 1998, for discussion of orthography of possible synonym Monotretus, Monotreta, or Monotrete), Torquigener, and Xenopterus) with about 98 species (e.g., Roberts, 1998b).

Subfamily Canthigastrinae (sharpnose pufferfishes). Body laterally compressed (deeper than broad) in uninflated condition; single inconspicuous nostril on each side; lateral line inconspicuous; gill opening restricted, ending ventrally about level of midportion of pectoral fin; snout elongate and relatively pointed; erectable ridge of skin on dorsal and ventral midline; vertebrae usually 17 (8 + 9). Maximum length usually less than 12 cm. Most species of sharpnose puffers occur in shallow water, usually near coral reefs, and feed on benthic organisms. All but one species (which occurs in the Atlantic) occur in tropical Indo-Pacific waters (from the Red Sea and South Africa to Central America).

One genus, Canthigaster, with 32 species (e.g., Moura and Castro, 2002).

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