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Spotted Confusion


What's the difference between a spotted green puffer, a green puffer, and the spotted congo puffer?
Mislabeling in your LFS can be confusing, as well as harmful to your puff.  These three species bear a major similarity in that they seem to have the same markings.  Luckily, there are some differences as well as similarities.


Ok, so they all have spots.  They all have the same placement of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.  Their colors are similar and they share that "cute" look.  If you look closely, however, they are easy to tell apart.
 
T. schoutedeni, the spotted Congo Puffer
The easiest one to differentiate from the others is t. schoutedeni, the spotted Congo Puffer.  The spotted Congo puffer has a distinctive "club-like" shape to its body (just imagine the tail as the handle), with a drastic drop from belly to anal fin.  Additionally, it's not as fluorescent green as the other two, tending toward a brownish background for its spots.  What really separates t. schoutedeni from the others is the backward-pointing spines that it has on its belly.  These are especially visible when the spotted Congo is puffing (they stick out).  Even when it's not, however, the spines are still apparent on its underside (although not near its mouth).  You may not be able to see these spines from the pictures (they rest pointing backwards, toward the caudal fin), but if you observe them in person you'll be able to make them out.
 
 
t. fluviatilis, the Green Puffer
t. nigroviridis, the Spotted Puffer

That only leaves the last two to figure out.  These are a lot more similar, but have one major distinction.  The difference between the two is in their body shape.  T. fluviatilis (green puffer) exhibits a torpedo shaped body, with a longer sloping head and back region.  The slope of its body is gradual, almost elongated when compared to that of t. nigroviridisT. nigroviridis (spotted green puffer) has a balloon-like quality, with a very rounded body.  If you look at their mouths and follow the general shapes they have, you'll see how much rounder T. nigroviridis actually is.  It also has eyes placed closer to its mouth and a rounder, shorter "nose". (*note that even though  T. nigroviridis on the right is full of food, it still doesn't have the abrupt slope from belly to tail of t. schoutedeni.)  Additionally, T. fluviatilis will tend to exhibit a  "shinier, more discrete, consistent" (coloration with) "smaller dots." (Fenner, 2001)

Why is this important?  T. fluviatilis is a brackish water pufferfish. T. nigroviridis can handle small amounts of salt (they actually do better with some salt), but is considered a freshwater fish.  T. schoutedeni is a purely freshwater fish, so you shouldn't give it any more salt than you would another freshwater species.
 
 
 
 


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