These beautiful, rare fish are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean. We have two boat dive sites which we visit regularly in Tenerife, where we have resident Burrfish. It’s always enjoyable seeing the delight on our diver’s faces, when they have the opportunity to see a burrfish during their guided dive!
They are found singly hiding in protected shaded areas in caves and under rocks. They feed nocturnally on hard shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins where they use their powerful jaws to crush the food… often the spines from the sea urchins get stuck in their lips.
This fish is solitary, except during mating periods, it has a nocturnal activity with a maximal activity at sunset and sunrise.
The average length is 33cm and they are found at depths of 20-100m
In case of danger, the Burrfish can inflate itself by swallowing water to deter the potential predator with its larger volume and it can raise its spines.
We would like to stress the importance of not catching or playing with the Burrfish because it is hard work for them to swell up and the consequent wear and tear on the muscles can harm the fish if it is forced to do this too often.
There seems to be a lot of confusion between the puffer fish and the porcupine fish. The main difference is that the porcupine fish are covered with sharp spines, which are visible even prior to ‘puffing up’, however the puffer fish have thinner spines that are only visible when ‘puffed up’
I always look forward to seeing our resident Burrfish, they are inquisitive and personable and a joy to watch!
By Carly Pickford