September 21, 2016
A dog face pufferfish which was donated after its old tank sprung a leak is enjoying a spacious new home at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
The fish, which gets its common name from its apparently canine features, is settling in to a new life in the aquarium’s giant ocean display.
Found in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, the pufferfish can grow up to a foot in length and feed on stony corals.
“The pufferfish was donated to us, along with a selection of other tropical marine fish, after their home aquarium developed a problem,” said Blue Reef Aquarium’s Melissa Hallam.
“All of the fish have spent time in our quarantine facility to ensure they are fit and healthy before going on public display.
“The puffer’s new home in our ocean tank is at least a hundred times larger than his old tank and he has spent the first few days exploring.
“Pufferfish are naturally curious and also quite intelligent fish and we don’t think it will be too long before he starts following our aquarists around in the hope of getting fed – much like a pet dog!” she added.
If threatened pufferfish are able to inflate their bodies by using special muscles and valves to rapidly gulp in and retain water. They have no ribs so they can inflate up to three times their original size.
Almost all pufferfish also contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. For humans this toxin is even more deadly – it is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide.
A single pufferfish contains enough tetrodotoxin to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.
There have been a number of reported fatalities among diners in Japan where pufferfish – known as fugu – is considered a delicacy.
Issued by Blue Reef. For more information and to arrange interviews and picture opportunities please contact Melissa Hallam on 01637 878134.