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Diodon hystrix - Spot-fin porcupinefish

Diodon hystrix - Spot-fin porcupinefish Photo courtesy: Geoff Schultz

The porcupinefish has a greenish-brown back and a white underside. It has small dark spots which cover its body and fins. Its distinctive spines are usually held flat to its body. However, when disturbed it is capable of inflating its body to stick out the spines for protection. Porcupinefish can grow to a maximum length of 3 feet, although they are usually found to be 1 to 2 feet. They are found mostly near cave openings and recesses in coral reefs to depths between 6 and 80 feet.


Distribution, Stock Structure and Migration
Circumtropical. Eastern Pacific: San Diego, California, USA to Chile, including the Galapagos Islands. Western Atlantic: Bermuda, Massachusetts (USA), and northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: 30°N to 23°S. Western Indian Ocean: Red Sea to Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius. Mediterranean


Habitat
Common near drop-offs of seaward reefs. Occasionally in shallow water. Solitary or in small groups in open water. Often associated with Sargassum.


Diet
Feeds mainly on large zooplankton.


Quick Fact
Solitary and nocturnal they feed on hard shelled invertebrates like sea urchins, gastropods, and hermit crabs.


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