The Differences Between Male & Female Dogface Puffers

Pufferfish swallow water or air to inflate and defend against predation.
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Dogface pufferfish -- or blackspotted puffers, as they are sometimes known -- are a species of fish found among Indo-Pacific reefs. These solitary creatures possess many unique physical attributes, including progressive color change. Visually determining sex is impossible, but male and female puffers do possess some behavioral differences.

Sexing Pufferfish Is More Than a Challange

Male and female dogface pufferfish are similar in size, markings and many behaviors. They're both poor swimmers who use their expandable stomachs and short, small spines to puff up for defense against predators. Throughout their lifetimes, these carnivorous fish will experience color changes ranging from gray to yellow while maintaining their dog-face appearance. Their sexual differences become evident only during their mating efforts in the wild. Females scatter eggs among the seafloor sediment, leave males to find, fertilize and guard them until hatching. In aquariums, breeding does not occur, thus making gender identification impossible.