Triodon macropterus, also known as the threetooth puffer, is a tetraodontiform fish, the only living species in the genus Triodon and family Triodontidae. Other members of the family are known from fossils stretching back to the Eocene.
Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
|Triodon macropterus, with extended belly flap|
G. Cuvier, 1829
It is native to the Indo-Pacific, where it is found at depths to 300 m (980 ft). 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.
The threetooth puffer reaches a maximum length of 54 cm (21 in). 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.
The threetooth puffer is also known as the black-spot keeled pufferfish, and was first scientifically described by Lesson in 1831.
Drawing by Cuvier
- 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.
- 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.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Triodon macropterus" in FishBase. February 2015 version.
- Gomon, M.F. & Dianne J. Bray, D.J. (2011): Threetooth Puffer, Triodon macropterus, Fishes of Australia.
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