June 25, 2015
The fish was given to the Towan Promenade aquarium by a home hobbyist who had to undertake some major repair work on his aquarium.
The species, which is also known as the striped burrfish, can grow up to 10 inches in length and, unlike most other boxfish and pufferfish, is covered with prickly spines which are constantly sticking out and make the fish extremely difficult to handle.
Dead specimens are often washed ashore on beaches and can become treacherous for bathers if stepped on by mistake with bare feet.
Blue Reef Aquarium’s Steve Matchett said: “He’s a really nice looking specimen and is in excellent condition.
“At the moment he is being looked after in our quarantine area but the plan is for him to go on public display in the next few weeks.
“As with many pufferfish and boxfish he is full of character and very used to people. He will often swim towards an aquarist when he spots them in the hope of getting some additional food,” he added.
As with other members of the porcupinefish family the spiny boxfish can inflate its body by taking either air or water into a special extension to its stomach as a defensive mechanism against would-be predators.
Found in the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia and Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil it feeds mainly on oysters, barnacles, mussels, small crabs, and hermit crabs.
The aquarium is currently looking after five different species of pufferfish and boxfish.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews/picture opportunities please Steve Matchett on 01637 878134.