Stars-and-Stripes Puffer (species: Arothron hispidus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Arothron hispidus
Stars-and-Stripes Puffer

©Lyle Vail: Arothron hispidus at Cobia Hole, Lizard Island.

©rqy-yong: Inflated Arothron hispidus captured for research at Mermaid Cove, Lizard Island.

©Victor Huertas: Arothron hispidus at the lagoon bommie, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Tetraodontiformes
Family Tetraodontidae
Genus Arothron
Species Arothron hispidus



Distinguishing features

A medium sized fish with large eyes, and a brown body covered with small white spots and pale stripes on the belly. Swims slowly using the dorsal and anal fins.


  • Up to 50 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Interesting facts

  • Arothron hispidus is one of the few known fish predators of Crown-of-thorns starfish.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Reef fronts, flats, and sheltered lagoonal and backreef habitats.

Can be found in most locations around the island.


The Stars-and-Stripes Puffer feeds on a wide range of prey, such as worms, algae, molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. The puffers have exceptionally strong, chisel like teeth which they use to render the reef in search of food. They are usually seen singly, moving slowly over the reef or resting in a hollow. There is little published information on their ecology, although they are well known for the poison (tetrodotoxin) contained in their skin and internal organs, which has caused many human fatalities.

Web resources


  • unspecified - This species is poisonous and should not be eaten.


  • Bostrom-Einarsson, L., M.C. Bonin, S. Moon and (2018). Environmental impact monitoring of household vinegar-injections to cull crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster spp. Ocean and Coastal Management, 155: 83-89. LIRS catalog number 2202.
  • Bray, R.A., T.H. Cribb and J.-L. Justine (2010). Diploproctodaeum sp(p). (Digenea, Lepocreadiidae) in Australian and New Caledonian waters including two new species from Tetraodontiformes and new records of related species, Acta Parasitologica, 55: 313-326. LIRS catalog number 1315.
  • Caley, M.J. (1991). Mechanisms of coexistence in communities of coral-reef fishes, Ph.D. thesis, University of Sydney. LIRS catalog number 307.
  • View all references