Threetooth puffer

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Threetooth puffer
Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Triodon macropterus JNC2989.JPG
Triodon macropterus, with extended belly flap
Scientific classification

Bleeker, 1865-69

G. Cuvier, 1829
T. macropterus
Binomial name
Triodon macropterus
Lesson, 1831

Triodon macropterus, also known as the threetooth puffer, is a tetraodontiform fish, the only living species in the genus Triodon and family Triodontidae. [1] Other members of the family are known from fossils stretching back to the Eocene. [2]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

The Eocene Epoch, lasting from 56 to 33.9 million years ago, is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Paleocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the Eocene is marked by a brief period in which the concentration of the carbon isotope 13C in the atmosphere was exceptionally low in comparison with the more common isotope 12C. The end is set at a major extinction event called the Grande Coupure or the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event, which may be related to the impact of one or more large bolides in Siberia and in what is now Chesapeake Bay. As with other geologic periods, the strata that define the start and end of the epoch are well identified, though their exact dates are slightly uncertain.

It is native to the Indo-Pacific, where it is found at depths to 300 m (980 ft). [3] Its name comes from the Ancient Greek τρι- (tri-, meaning 'three') and ὀδούς (or ὀδών , odoús, odṓn, meaning 'tooth'), and refers to the three fused teeth making up a beak-like structure.

Indo-Pacific A biogeographic region of the Earths seas, comprising the tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean, and the connecting seas.

The Indo-Pacific, sometimes known as the Indo-West Pacific or Indo-Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth's seas, comprising the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia. It does not include the temperate and polar regions of the Indian and Pacific oceans, nor the Tropical Eastern Pacific, along the Pacific coast of the Americas, which is also a distinct marine realm.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

The threetooth puffer reaches a maximum length of 54 cm (21 in). [3] It has a distinctive shape, with a huge belly flap as large as or larger than its body; it inflates this with seawater when threatened. The flap bears an eye-spot, and is inflated by rotating the shaft-like pelvis downwards. This makes the animal appear much larger to predators, and less likely to be eaten. [2]

Pelvis lower part of the trunk of the human body between the abdomen and the thighs (sometimes also called pelvic region of the trunk

The pelvis is either the lower part of the trunk of the human body between the abdomen and the thighs or the skeleton embedded in it.

The threetooth puffer is also known as the black-spot keeled pufferfish, and was first scientifically described by Lesson in 1831. [4]

Georges Cuvier French naturalist, zoologist and paleontologist (1769–1832)

Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier, known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist, sometimes referred to as the "founding father of paleontology". Cuvier was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils.

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Tetraodontidae family of fishes

The Tetraodontidae are a family of primarily marine and estuarine fish of the order Tetraodontiformes. The family includes many familiar species which are variously called pufferfish, puffers, balloonfish, blowfish, blowies, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, sugar toads, and sea squab. They are morphologically similar to the closely related porcupinefish, which have large external spines. The scientific name refers to the four large teeth, fused into an upper and lower plate, which are used for crushing the hard shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey.

Porcupinefish family of fish (Diodontidae)

Porcupinefish are fish belonging to the family Diodontidae, also commonly called blowfish and, sometimes, balloonfish and globefish. They are sometimes collectively called pufferfish, not to be confused with the morphologically similar and closely related Tetraodontidae, which are more commonly given this name.

Tetraodontiformes order of fishes

The Tetraodontiformes are an order of highly derived ray-finned fish, also called the Plectognathi. Sometimes these are classified as a suborder of the order Perciformes. The Tetraodontiformes are represented by 10 extant families and at least 349 species overall; most are marine and dwell in and around tropical coral reefs, but a few species are found in freshwater streams and estuaries. They have no close relatives, and descend from a line of coral-dwelling species that emerged around 80 million years ago.

Triggerfish family Balistidae, about 40 species of often brightly colored fishes

Triggerfishes are about 40 species of often brightly colored fish of the family Balistidae. Often marked by lines and spots, they inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, with the greatest species richness in the Indo-Pacific. Most are found in relatively shallow, coastal habitats, especially at coral reefs, but a few, such as the oceanic triggerfish, are pelagic. While several species from this family are popular in the marine aquarium trade, they are often notoriously ill-tempered.

Filefish family of fish (Monacanthidae)

The filefish (Monacanthidae) are a diverse family of tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish, which are also known as foolfish, leatherjackets or shingles. They live in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Filefish are closely related to the triggerfish, pufferfish and trunkfish.

Molidae family of fishes

The Molidae comprise the family of the molas or ocean sunfishes, unusual fish whose bodies come to an end just behind the dorsal and anal fins, giving them a "half-fish" appearance. They are also the largest of the ray-finned bony fish, with the ocean sunfish Mola mola and southern sunfish, Mola alexandrini, both recorded at up to 4.6 m (15 ft) in length and 2,300 kg (5,100 lb) in weight.

<i>Arothron</i> genus of fishes

Arothron is a genus in the pufferfish family Tetraodontidae found in warm parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean. These species are sometimes kept in aquaria. The largest species is A. stellatus, which can reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft) in length.

Narcinidae family of fishes

The numbfishes are a group of electric rays in the family Narcinidae. They are bottom-dwelling cartilaginous fishes with large, rounded pectoral fin discs and long tails. They can produce an electric discharge for defense, from which their scientific name is derived.

Triacanthidae family of fishes

Triacanthidae, commonly known as triplespines or tripodfishes, is a family of Indo-Pacific fishes. It is classified in the order Tetraodontiformes, along with the pufferfishes and the ocean sunfish. The family consists of seven species in four genera, in addition to one extinct genus that only is known from fossils.

Long-spine porcupinefish species of fish

The longspined porcupine fish, also known as the freckled porcupinefish among other vernacular names, is a species of marine fish in the family Diodontidae.

<i>Mola</i> (fish) genus of fishes

A sunfish is any fish in the Mola genus. The fishes develop their truncated, bullet-like shape because the back fin, with which they are born, never grows. Instead, it folds into itself as the creature matures, creating a rounded rudder called a clavus. Mola in Latin means "millstone" and describes the ocean sunfish's somewhat circular shape. They are a silvery color and have a rough skin texture.

<i>Reicheltia halsteadi</i> species of fish

Reicheltia halsteadi, Halstead's toadfish, is a species of pufferfish endemic to Australia. This species grows to a length of 16 centimetres (6.3 in) TL. This species is the only known member of its genus.

Checkered puffer species of fish

The checkered puffer is a species in the family Tetraodontidae, or pufferfishes.

Least puffer species of fish

Least puffer, Sphoeroides parvus, is a species in the family Tetraodontidae, or pufferfishes. This species is the common bay and inshore puffer for the waters around Texas and Louisiana. It has also been found as far east as Apalachicola Bay and south to Yucatán. Mature least puffers are small, usually less than four inches (100 mm).

Northern puffer species of fish

Northern puffer, Sphoeroides maculatus, is a species in the family Tetraodontidae, or pufferfishes, found along the Atlantic coast of North America. Unlike many other pufferfish species, the flesh of the northern puffer is not poisonous. They are commonly called sugar toads in the Chesapeake Bay region, where they are eaten as a delicacy.

Aracanidae family of fishes

The Aracanidae are a family of bony fishes related to the boxfishes. They are somewhat more primitive than the true boxfishes, but have a similar protective covering of thickened scale plates. They are found in the Indian Ocean and the west Pacific. Unlike the true boxfishes, they also inhabit deep waters, of over 200 m (660 ft) in depth.

Spikefish family of fishes

The spikefishes are ray-finned fishes related to the pufferfishes and triggerfishes. They live in deep waters, below 50 metres (160 ft), but above the continental shelves. They are found in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and the west-central Pacific.

Smooth toadfish species of fish

The smooth toadfish is a species of fish in the pufferfish family Tetraodontidae. It is native to shallow coastal and estuarine waters of southeastern Australia, where it is widespread and abundant. French naturalist Christophe-Paulin de La Poix de Fréminville described the species in 1813, though early records confused it with its close relative, the common toadfish. The two are the only members of the genus Tetractenos after going through several taxonomic changes since discovery.

Smooth trunkfish species of Actinopterygii

Lactophrys triqueter also known as the smooth trunkfish, is a species of boxfish found on and near reefs in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and subtropical parts of the western Atlantic Ocean.

<i>Arothron reticularis</i> species of fish

Arothron reticularis, variously known as the reticulated pufferfish, reticulated blowfish or reticulated toadfish, is a ray-finned fish in the family Tetraodontidae. It is native to the tropical and sub-tropical Indo-Pacific region where its habitats include sandy and muddy seabeds, coral reefs, estuaries and mangrove areas.


  1. Matsuura, K. (2014): Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research, 62 (1): 72-113.
  2. 1 2 Matsuura, K. & Tyler, J.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 230. ISBN   0-12-547665-5.
  3. 1 2 Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Triodon macropterus" in FishBase . February 2015 version.
  4. Gomon, M.F. & Dianne J. Bray, D.J. (2011): Threetooth Puffer, Triodon macropterus, Fishes of Australia.