Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Freckled Porcupinefish

Diodon holocanthus

The Freckled porcupinefish is a medium sized puffer fish that lives in shallow water and/or tropical seas around the world. When in danger, puffer fish inflate themselves to scare predators with the poisonous spikes on their bodies.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: Sub-tropical and tropical waters in Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, Central and North America.

At the Zoo: USS Antiquities, Shark Tank

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Freckled Porcupinefish are suffering from water pollution, habitat loss due to climate change and fishing for human consumption.


In the Wild: sea urchins, hard-shelled invertebrates like shrimp, crabs, urchins, snails and clams.

At the Zoo: krill, scallops, shrimp, smelt, flounder, squid and specialized fish gel (Krill is the favorite)

Life Span

In the Wild – 10 years; In Human Care – 10 years, if taken care of properly.

Fun Facts about the Freckled Porcupinefish

  • Freckled porcupinefish can recognize feeders and often behave like dogs, swimming to the top of their tanks to await food. They are ranked as one of the "smart" fish, with a higher-than-average intelligence.
  • As an adult, the freckled porcupinefish has few natural predators due to its large size, toxicity, and ability to inflate.


Liu, J., Zapfe, G., Shao, K.-T., Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Hardy, G., Liu, M., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. 2015. Diodon hystrix (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T193668A97664783. Downloaded on 02 December 2020.

Diodon holocanthus. (2018, April 30). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from

Updated March 18, 2021