By Philip Knowling
Torquay, UK - Living Coasts is now home to the only public collection of milkspotted pufferfish in the UK.
The four baby pufferfish are each about 7 cm long and in time could reach a length of 25 cm. As males and females look exactly the same, no one knows what sex they are. Supplied by a specialist rare fish distributor, the four eat krill, squid tentacles and chopped fish and have taken up residence in the tidal community tank alongside the mudskippers and archer fish.
Milk-spotted pufferfish (Chelonodon patoca) are found in mangroves and other coastal areas of Asia and Australia. This fish, not commonly seen in aquariums, is milk-white underneath with white spots and stripes on the top.
Living Coasts spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “Pufferfish are fish with real personality – they are aware of their surroundings and as you watch them, they watch you. They have expressive faces with large eyes and an unusual, bird-like beak. They are well worth seeing.”
Living Coasts Marine Biologist Jodie Peers: “Milkspotted pufferfish are a mangrove species and fit in well with the other fish we have in the collection. They are interesting and unusual - not rare but rarely seen in aquariums. Hopefully we will never see them live up to their name and puff up because they only do it when they are threatened and it places a huge strain on their bodies.”
Living Coasts is a registered charity. For more information go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk or ring (01803) 202470.
Living Coasts is a member of the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA). BIAZA represents its member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums. For further information please telephone 020 7449 6351.
© 2008 Zoo and Aquarium Visitor. All rights reserved.