Monday, April 4, 2016

Spiny Puffer 1: Snook 0 !

While exploring the shallows of Gasparilla Sound a group of us came across a small snook in shallow water that was near death.  When we examined it closely we found an inflated spiny puffer or burrfish in the snook's mouth/throat that appeared to have prevented the snook from respiring properly.  Since the snook was essentially dead we removed the puffer from its throat and released the puffer which was weak but alive.

This illustrates two things, the effectiveness of the protection afforded by the spines and inflation strategy used by puffers (which are also quite poisonous due to tetrodotoxin in their tissues), and the foolishness of a snook which ate a puffer which then killed it.  It is interesting that this snook did not recognize the danger posed by this very well protected prey.

Bill Dunson

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