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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Tetraodontidae
Milk-spotted pufferfish
Chelonodon patoca

Family Tetraodontidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This pretty spotted fat fish is sometimes seen on our Southern Shores. One was seen half-buried in a sandy stretch at Tanah Merah near a freshwater outflow. Elsewhere, it is common in estuaries and shallow waters, in sand flats, mud flats and seagrass meadows, often in schools. Juveniles are common in mangroves,

Features: Grows to about 33cm, but those seen were 8-12cm. The nasal organ has a pair of elongated flaps. It has a grey or brown back with large round or oval white spots. It has a yellow band along the lower side from chin to tail. The underside is white. Those seen had yellow tails.

What does it eat? When small it feeds mostly on detritus, as it grows, it transitions to a diet of animals that live on the ground.

Human uses: Although it is toxic (gonad, liver, flesh and skin), it is considered a delicacy in Japan.

Labrador, Jul 05

Changi, Apr 10

Sentosa, May 04 5

Milk-spotted pufferfishes on Singapore shores

Photos of Milk-spotted pufferfishes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

East Coast Park, Jul 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Chek Jawa, May 16
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.



  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
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