Balloonfish GALLERYDiodon holocanthus
The Balloonfish looks very similar to the
Porcupinefish, but the Balloonfish has NO
spots on their fins. They are also much smaller
growing to a maximum of 20". They have large,
conspicuous spines on their heads and often have two
or more spines on their backs that remain erect even
when not inflated. They can often be seen near recesses and
cave opening, under overhangs and other protected
areas and also hiding in the tall sea grass beds. Tan/olive
colored body, brownish band running from eye to eye
over the back. They have a yellow iris. If they see you,
make very slow movements toward them they will be
fairly tolerant relying on camouflage. They
have the ability to inflate themselves to three
times their normal size by swallowing water or air.
The first three pictures are of baby Balloonfish
that are about 2 inches long. They were taking
refuge in the Mangrove roots. There were hundreds,
if not thousands, of them. Cute!
A new study shows that when puffer fish inflate themselves as a last resort when being molested or threatened, it is extremely hard on their systems. Once they inflate they become more vulnerable to predation. So, do not molest these fish, trying to get them to inflate. it may cost them their lives.