GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Unidentified species of puffer fish swimming near polyps of hard coral. Puffers are named for their habit of blowing up their bodies when they are irritated. This species, coloured black and white, blends in well with its surroundings. The skin is leathery, coarse and scaleless. Almost all puffers have pointed spines which lie flat against the body when the fish is quiet. When the fish is challenged it gulps water to puff out its body, and the spines are erected. In this way, like a porcupine, they present themselves to the enemy as a swollen ball of spikes. With few exceptions, puffers occur only in warm seas. Photographed in the Red Sea.
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