Black Spotted Porcupine Fish Koh Tao
Learn about the Black Spotted Porcupine Fish Koh Tao
Black Spotted Porcupine Fish are one of eighteen types of known Porcupine fish and are very closely related and not to be confused with the Pufferfish.
Where to find the Black Spotted Porcupine Fish on Koh Tao
Junkyard Reef is home to a few permanent marine life residents with the most famous being nicknamed Steve, as he is often found following scuba divers around thinking he is in fact part of their buddy team.
How to Identify Black Spotted Porcupine Fish
This particular type of Porcupine fish on Koh Tao has a large torpedo shaped body, which is covered in very strong light-coloured spines.
Their body color ranges from a light brown to an olive mottled green with small black spots covering their body and fins and their underbelly is usually white.
Their fins are all very rounded to aid in quick agile turns and they have huge black eyes that slightly protrude out from the body.
Black Spotted Porcupine Fish Characteristics & Behaviour
Like all porcupine fish they have an extremely strong jaw and all their teeth in the upper jaw and lower jaws are fused together to make up plates known as a beak.
The beak is what helps Porcupine fish crush and eat their food and they are natural foragers and workers of the reef and spend a lot of time looking for small invertebrates like crabs, snail and urchins.
Amazing Defence Mechanism
Porcupine fish are not known for being the strongest of swimmers and so have adapted to life in the slow lane.
One impressive defence mechanism is the ability to inhale water rapidly and form a ball shape.
This causes their spines to fully erect making it very difficult and awkward for any would be predator to consume them.
Interesting facts about the Black Spotted Porcupine Fish
Like many other Porcupine fish, they have a common symbiotic relationship with a special type of bacteria and the most common is known as Pseudoalteromonas Tetraodonis.
This is the bacteria that causes the production of Tetrodotoxin, which is an extremely powerful neurotoxin.
Porcupine fish have the amazing ability to move each of their eyes independently and are often seen swimming away from divers at an angle, which allows one eye to watch the whole time.
Unfortunately, these Porcupine fish are also known in the culinary world as blowfish are considered a delicacy in some countries.
Due to their powerful toxin some chefs have to train for many years to be able to get a license to serve these fish.
The custom-made knives must cut at a certain angle to avoid piercing the toxic sacs and secreting it into the meat.
One of their very few natural predators are dolphins.
Studies have shown that dolphins have been witnessed playing almost underwater volley ball with the Porcupine fish.
Scientists believe that due to the highly stressful ordeal they secrete their toxin, which acts as an addictive substance for the dolphins.