Diving In Singapore: Long-spine Porcupinefish


  • Common names for this fish include balloonfish, balloon porcupinefish, blotched porcupinefish, brown porcupinefish, freckled porcupinefish, hedgehog fish, and spiny puffer.

  • They can grow up to 29 cm in length. The mouth is proportionally fairly large and if one observes them closely, the skin around the mouth is slightly wrinkled!

  • The long-spine porcupinefish has an elastic stomach, flexible skeletal structure, and stretchy skin, all which allow it to inflate like a balloon.

  • Adult Long spine porcupinefish are usually solitary and are only seen in pairs or groups during mating. They are often seen wedged into small crevices on the reef during the day and will sometimes inflate wedging themselves into the crevice.

  • They are slow swimmers usually propelling themselves with their pectoral, dorsal and anal fins but they are capable of a faster burst of speed when they use their caudal fins. Porcupinefish are more agile than they look and can change direction quickly.

  • The Long spine porcupinefish are nocturnal feeders , feeding mainly on crustaceans, gastropods and sea urchins. Hermit crabs are included in their diet. Diving at night, one often sees them blowing water into the sand to expose small organisms which they quickly gobble up. From watching them feed they seem to have some sense that allows them to pick out areas of sand which contain foods.


Did you know?

The Porcupine Fish are often confused with the Puffer fish but they are actually two different species. Porcupine fish has thicker spikes then the puffer fish. The porcupine fish also only has one plate of fused teeth where as the puffer fish has two rows.


Porcupinefish are eaten as food fish and are an exotic delicacy in Cebu, Philippines, where they are called tagotongan!

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