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Sphoeroides testudineus  (Linnaeus, 1758)

Checkered puffer
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Sphoeroides testudineus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Sphoeroides testudineus (Checkered puffer)
Sphoeroides testudineus
Juvenile picture by Gasparini, J.L.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes) > Tetraodontidae (Puffers) > Tetraodontinae
Etymology: Sphoeroides: Greek, sphaira = ball + Greek, suffix, oides = similar to (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range ? - 48 m (Ref. 9710).   Subtropical; 42°N - 35°S, 98°W - 34°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Western Atlantic: Rhode Island, USA to southeastern Brazil.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 10.8  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 38.8 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); common length : 20.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3821); max. published weight: 400.00 g (Ref. 5217)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-12; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 11. Greenish above, pale yellow to white below; back has series of pale lines and arcs suggesting concentric circles with intersecting lines. No other puffer has this color pattern (Ref. 26938).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Commonly found in bays, tidal creeks and protected coastal waters, especially on seagrass beds, and in brackish water. Rare or absent on coral reefs. Does not form schools, but may form huge aggregates. Hides in the sand when frightened (Ref. 9710). Feeds mainly on bivalves, gastropods, foraminiferans and several other benthic invertebrates specially crustaceans, which it crushes with its powerful teeth (Ref. 35237). To ward off predators, it inflates itself like a balloon. Highly toxic; used to poison cats and dogs (Ref. 2861).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawning season is from late spring to early fall at Biscayne Bay, Florida. Mean length at first maturity is over 13 cm TL.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Matsuura, Keiichi | Collaborators

Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Poisonous to eat (Ref. 3821)




Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01862 (0.01490 - 0.02327), b=2.90 (2.84 - 2.96), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.4   ±0.48 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.51; rel. fec=1.146 eggs/ g body weight).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (22 of 100) .