fish are a part of the family Tetraodontidae.
genera and 121 individual species of puffer fish in this genus. Puffers
flourish in the tropical regions of the world. Their numbers decrease
substantially in temperate zones and are nonexistent in colder water
This species is prevalent in open water as well as the semi-enclosed
of bays and sounds and the brackish water areas of river tidal mouths.
are typically small to medium sized fish. However there are species
grow up to almost 40 inches in length.
names from the highly elastic qualities of their
stomach linings. They have the ability to rapidly inflate their stomach
water until they are almost completely spherical in shape. This purely
defensive mechanism serves the dual purpose of making them harder to
and giving their would-be predators a reason to take pause and question
size of the prey they have chosen to hunt. Puffers will frequently
their stomachs with air when they are suddenly lifted up out of the
often experience difficulty expelling this foreign substance form their
stomachs. A knowledgeable aquarist will hold the fish by its tail with
pointed upwards. The fish is then gently shaken until the water escapes
its mouth. Various species of puffer fish are known by the names
blowfish, bubblefish, balloonfish, globefish, swellfish, as well as
toadies, honey toads, and sea squabs. The later references refer to
course almost sandpaper-like spines.
Puffer fish are
most poisonous vertebrates in the world in
relation to human consumption. They
preceded only by the Golden Poison Frog.
Despite the inherent danger,
fish are considered exotic delicacies in both Japan
puffer flesh is known as fugu, and in Korea,
bok. Specially trained chefs are charged with the responsibility of
this fish’s toxins harmless for their expecting guests. It
should be noted that
the toxins found in puffer fish are not nearly as toxic to many marine
as they are to humans.
usually the result of improperly prepared dishes.
The ingestion of properly prepared puffer fish will result in a
feeling of intoxication and a numbness of the lips and tongue. When
prepared; deadening of the lips and tongue, dizziness and vomiting will
overcome the euphoric effects. These are the initial symptoms of puffer
Progressive symptoms are; a prickling sensation all over the body, an
in heart rate, a decrease in blood pressure and muscle paralysis. Death
commonly results from suffocation due to the paralysis of the
diaphragm. What's for dinner?
Most victims of
poisoning die within 24 hours. There have been cases
or puffer poisoning induced comas that lasted several days. Coma
awake to report that they were fully conscious and remember everything
said and done during the course of their paralysis. Patients who
first 24 hours without lapsing into a coma usually make a full recovery. The
common treatments for puffer poisoning
are stomach pumping and activated charcoal filtration of the blood. Little
else can be done with current
Because of their
qualities puffer fish have been harvested for
centuries by Voodoo practitioners. Pharmaceutical companies are
toxicological effect of these fish for the advancement of modern
first of these drugs to be releases is Tectin derived from
administered in small doses this potent medication relieves the chronic
experienced by many cancer patients. Studies are also being conducted
use of tetrodotoxin based medication to help in the treatment of opiate
scientific name, Tetraodontidae,
refers to the four large teeth characteristic to every member of this
Two teeth are fused in the upper and two in the lower plates of these
jaw bones. In their natural habitat they are used for crushing mollusks
crustaceans. Extreme caution should be exercised in the handling of
not just form potential bite wounds but also from the possibility of
seeping into the open wound.