What Chaos Do Puffer Fishes In Australia Cause?
Pufferfish (Tetraodontidae), also known as blowfish, is recognized by its highly elastic stomach that can “puff” and grow into a huge ball numerous times bigger than its normal size. It has a long, pointed body with a round head, and ranges in size of pygmy puffer to the giant puffer. This fish species can grow up to 3 feet in length.
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Despite the amazing inflatable bodies and somewhat cute appearance of pufferfish, there is a dark side to them that causes destruction to biological lives.
Puffer Fishes Are Poisonous
Almost all pufferfishes emit poison that is highly dangerous to all living creatures. The smooth toadfish in Southeast Australia is one of the lists. Puffer fishes contain tetrodotoxin, a harmful toxin that can be very deadly, especially to humans. It is more lethal than cyanide up to 1,200 times.
When tetrodotoxin is ingested inside a living body, it shuts down its nervous system. Respiration and muscular functions stop. It is said that one pufferfish is enough to kill almost 30 adult humans.
They Can Kill Their Predators
Because pufferfishes are naturally slow-swimming creatures, they are most likely vulnerable to predators. To escape, pufferfishes rapidly gulp vast amounts of water and air when necessary and turn their bodies into an almost indigestible ball.
Puffer fishes do not have scales, but some have spines that make them scarier to be prey.
And even if a predator manages to catch a pufferfish before it puffs up, it would quickly regret it. The tetrodotoxin it contains makes a pufferfish taste foul and can even poison the predator.
Anglers Can Be Their Victim
Smooth toadfish loves to take fish hook baits. It is also easy to handle because it has no spikes, unlike other fishes of its kind. When it inflates itself after being caught, it can be extremely poisonous.
That makes pufferfishes, extraordinarily smooth toadfish, an unfortunate catch for Australian anglers. Though they are not venomous because they don’t sting nor bite, they emit tetrodotoxin, and you know what would happen next.
Diners Can Die Due To Their Poison
Did you know that despite the toxic nature of some pufferfishes, some of them are still turned into a delicacy? In Japan, it is called fugu, costly food prepared only by specialized chefs.
Tetrodotoxin is predominantly found in the liver, ovaries, intestines, and skin of a pufferfish. With one bad cut of the pufferfish, this toxin might be consumed by a customer who will later experience symptoms such as respiratory failure, paralysis, numbness, and nausea.
Pufferfish poisoning means almost certain death for the victim. Many such deaths occur annually.
They Can Harm Other Animals
In seldom times during long periods of hot weather, oxygen in nearshore waters is reduced, and a large number of pufferfishes are washed ashore on the coasts of South Australia.
Animals that would feed on them would get poisoned. Even pets could get poisoned if the fish have been left within their reach.
To conclude, pufferfishes may seem innocent-looking remarkable creatures. But on the other side, they could also be a threat not only to predators who will try to feed on them but also to human lives. Thus, it is crucial to be cautious, hesitant, and extra careful, especially when they would be meant for human consumption.