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Takifugu rubripes ( fugu puffer) Temminck & Schlegel, 1850


*aka:  Japanese pufferfish, fugu, pufferfish, blowfish, Tetraodon rubripes (invalid), Sphaeroides rubripes (invalid),   Fugu rubripes rubripes (invalid).
 
T. rubripes, the fugu puffer
Origin  Japan, China, Korea D P Rep., Korea Rep., Taiwan
pH Range  varied
Temp.   50 - 84.2F (10 - 29C)
Hardness  varied
Salinity  brackish (juvenile) to marine (adult)
Length  to 27.5 inches (70 cm) 
Diet  live, fresh, frozen


The Japanese pufferfish, Takifugu rubripes, is found in the open waters and inlets of areas such as the Seto Inland Sea, west Japan Sea area, east China Sea, and Japan Sea area. The photos above don't really give credit to its bright coloration (as most pictures are postmortem).  It typically has a metallic green to blue body, with a bright orange or red spot positioned just behind and above the pectoral fins.
Perhaps the most famous pufferfish, T. rubripes is the Japanese puffer used to make fugu.  About 10 species of edible puffers occur in Japan (they refer to them all as fugu), but this is the species is principally for farming ventures. Certain parts of the Japanese puffer (and many others) are extremely poisonous, their toxin some 10,000 times the potency of cyanide.  The toxicity of puffers changes seasonally, becoming the greatest in the spawning season from May through June. The toxic substance "Tetrodotoxin" occurs mostly in the ovary, liver, intestines and skin, and rarely in the muscle. The farming of puffers is generally carried out in the warmer parts of Japan. I tend to shy away from food that will kill me in just a few hours.
Takifugu rubripes is also used as a model vertebrate for genome analysis because of its small genome size (400 Mb) and high homology with the human genome.
I haven't seen this species in an aquarium setting other than that of the restaurateur, so if you keep this puffer, share your experiences with us below!
 
 

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