Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YPM ICH 23585: A baby porcupinefish!

Last week Twan Leenders, a conservation biologist for the CT Audubon Society and a Peabody curatorial affiliate, deposited a baby porcupinefish for the collection! Here are pics, taken by Twan. The little guy is about the size of a quarter:

Pretty cute, huh? A little boy found it (dead) on the beach of the CT Audubon Coastal Center and brought it to Twan. Twan brought it here, and Greg Watkins-Colwell of our division along with Karsten Hartel of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology identified it.

It's a porcupinefish of the species Chilomycterus schoepfi (common name striped burrfish). Here's what these guys look like as adults (photo from here):

If you think it looks like a pufferfish, you're right. It acts like a pufferfish too-- it can inflate its body to ward off predators, and it's toxic just like a pufferfish. But it turns out it's not actually a pufferfish. It belongs to a very closely related family known as the porcupinefishes (family Diodontidae), as I alluded to earlier in the post.

For more on our new little specimen, the CT Audubon Society has blogged about it in more detail here.

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