Northern Pufferfish

Sphoeroides maculatus

northern puffer fish sphoeroides maculatus

Image by Cliff on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Physical: Puffers are yellow, brown, or olive-colored with a white underside and are covered in small pricks. They have a tiny, beak-like mouth. They can have dark, splotchy stripes on their sides and small, black spots on their backs, sides, and cheeks. They reach an average of 8 to 10 inches in length.

Habitat: S. maculatus are found from Newfoundland to northeast Florida. They shelter in bays, sounds, estuaries, and prefer silt to sand substrate.

Feeding: Northern Pufferfish feed on small mollusks, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. To escape predators, the pufferfish can expand its body cavity to appear larger and more threatening.

Breeding: S. maculatus spawn from May to August in nearshore waters and estuaries.  The fertilized eggs attach themselves to the substrate and hatch a few weeks later.

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