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Pufferfish Vs. Blowfish


Imagine you are about to touch an attractive looking fish and suddenly it bulges into a round shaped creature that does not fit in your hand. Such are these fascinating species of fish. In this blog, we will solve the confusion between pufferfish and blowfish. You will be able to learn the main differences between the fishes, their names, habitat, appearance, and much more. pufferfish and blowfish belong to different families of the fish but their common names causes a confusion between the two. There is a reason for scientists to give scientific names to all the species. It helps us in finding the key differences between all species and thoroughly learn about the selected animal.

Scientific Names

Pufferfish belong to the Tetraodontidae family of the order Tetraodontiformes. The main species of this family include pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, swellfish, toadfish, and bubblefish. Blowfish or Porcupine fish is present in the Diontidae family of the order Tetraodontiformes. Blowfish, balloon fish and globe fish are present in this family. As a whole, they are also called pufferfish, which creates the confusion between these species.

Difference in Morphology

Tetraodontiformes are generally distinguished due to their beak-like four teeth. The top and bottom arches of the species are fused together with a mid-separation. Moreover, these species do not have ribs and pectoral fins. The unique skeleton structure enables these fishes to swell up in case of any danger. They have sharp dermal spines to protect them from predators.  Pufferfish normally have smaller spines than their neighboring blowfish species. Blowfish have somewhat larger spines. These fishes quickly fill their body with air or water in case of an emergency. We have to be careful when approaching these unique yet fascinating species.

Toxicity and Human Consumption

Both these species contain a deadly poison called tetrodotoxin. This deadly poison is believed to be more than 1000 times more fatal than the well-known cyanide. It paralyzes the human body in an instant, majorly blocking the respiratory system. The neural system also becomes ineffective, and eventually, it leads to death. People in Japan, China, and  Singapore are fond of eating pufferfish. Special certifications need to be present before cooking fish at a restaurant. Poisonous fish parts like the liver, brain, and eyes need to be removed before cooking. Special handlers are present with the certified chefs to properly cook the fish.

Habitat of Pufferfish and Blowfish

Porcupine or blowfish are relatively slow-moving fish species. They are commonly found in shallow and tropical seas all over the globe. As they have a large number of species, some may also occur in oceans. They are always present in thousands. Pufferfish are habitat of brackish water. Major species are present in this environment. Some species can also be seen in the freshwater. These species are not present in the cold waters and prefer to be in the tropics.

Diet of Pufferfish and Porcupinefish

The fishes normally feed on anything that fits in their mouth. They have a solid defense mechanism that protects them from harmful substances. On the contrary, they are poisonous themselves. Pufferfish use their sharp teeth to break the food into smaller chunks and then eat them. These species have a particular diet and feed on mollusks or crustaceans. Fish, eggs, and small fishes are their main target as food. Blowfish is well-known to feed on the eggs of other fish species. Blowfish are more wild and feed on crustaceans and even small fishes or squids.

Behavioral Differences

Despite the similar appearance, both the species of fish have different reactions to their surroundings. pufferfish are less aggressive than the blowfish. This could be because of their eating preferences. Blowfish hunts fishes to survive which makes them more regional and hostile species. pufferfishes are calm and found in relaxed environments. A pufferfish is a member of the family Tetraodontidae, a large family of fish that contains freshwater, brackish and marine species. They all have smooth, scaleless skin and will puff up when threatened, to make it more difficult for predators to eat them. Most puffers contain tetrodotoxin, a highly poisonous substance derived from bacteria in the foods they eat. These fish feed on molluscs and all sorts of different invertebrates. In order to crack these hard foods, they sport a pair of very powerful fused teeth.


Pufferfish looks the same as the blowfish but there are some noticeable differences present in both species. Blowfish is more aggressive than the pufferfish. Porcupine fish live in tropical areas while puffer fish live in brackish water. These fishes look astonishing in an aquarium. Whether you call them puffer or blowfish, both these species are fascinating and unique.

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