Eat a Pufferfish and Die!

Posted in Under the Sea on December 10th, 2009 by MadDog
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No, I’m not putting a curse on you. Many readers will already be aware that the pufferfishes, among several other varieties of fish, are extremely poisonous when eaten by humans. This is because their bodies contain a deadly poison called tetrodotoxin. There are several dive sites around Madang at which you can usually find a large Fugu,  as they are called in Japan. This one is a Star Pufferfish (Arothron stellatus)  and its name is Elmer Fudd:

Star Pufferfish (Arothron stellatus)
I thought that you might enjoy meeting it. The idea of anything other than a cartoon character being so homely is simply too much to bear.

The Japanese eat these things. Since 1958 one must have a special license to prepare Fugu  for consumption. Apparently, the final exam for potential Fugu  chefs is to eat some of their own dish. If they survive, they pass.

Elmer will demonstrate patience for about thirty seconds, giving the photographer enough time for one or two shots such as the one above. When Elmer has had enough, he’ll turn around, scraping his belly on the sand:Star Pufferfish (Arothron stellatus)

And lumber away in a huff:

Star Pufferfish (Arothron stellatus)

Bye-bye Elmer.

Here is a fish that you’ve seen here before. It’s the Reef Lizardfish (Synodus variegatus):Reef Lizardfish (Synodus variegatus)Tomorrow we’ll be looking at some of the yummy coral at this spot on the South end of Leper Island.  For now, just savor the superb camoflage of this critter.

We’ll finish up with something decidedly non-fishy, a Tubeworm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi):Tubeworm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi)It’s worth clicking this shot to enlarge it. I had seen tubeworms for many years before I examined one closely and discovered the conplex organs in the centre. I’m not sure what it all does, but a tubeworm certainly could pass for an extraterrestrial organism.

Aliens in my front yard! Eeeek!

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