White spotted pufferfish

White spotted pufferfish

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Credit: LOUISE MURRAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: White-spotted pufferfish (Arothron hispidus). This solitary and territorial fish is found in the Indo-Pacific region, associated with coral reefs. It can grow up to 50 centimetres in length. It feeds on algae, crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms. When threatened, pufferfish gulp down water, which causes them to swell to up to twice their normal body size. Pufferfish are a delicacy in Japan, where they are eaten as sushi. However, they contain a powerful toxin, tetrodotoxin, that is fatal to humans even in tiny amounts, and so need to be prepared with care. Photographed at Marsa Alam, on Egypt's Red Sea coast.

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