Animal Species:Starry Pufferfish, Arothron stellatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

The Starry Pufferfish is a tropical species that can be recognised by its colouration.

Standard Common Name

Starry Pufferfish


Adult Starry Pufferfish are white with numerous small black spots that become relatively smaller and more numerous as the fish grows. Juveniles are orange with small black spots. They have diagonal black bands crossing the abdomen (see comment attachment from Sascha Schulz, 29 November 2010, below).

Size range

The species grows to 1.2 m in length.


The Starry Pufferfish occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific.

In Australia it is recorded from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the New South Wales central coast.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Arothron stellatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Starry Pufferfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

It has a variable diet that can include sea urchins, crustaceans, sponges, coral and algae.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Arothron stellatus, Starry Pufferfish, brown, grey, black, round bodied, > 1 m, dots/spots, tropical waters, marine, adult,


Mark McGrouther - 11.11 AM, 29 November 2010

Great photo Sascha!  Thanks for submitting it.  Yes, it looks like a range extension to me.  You have to love the juvenile puffers - so cute.

Sascha Schulz - 10.11 AM, 29 November 2010

Range extension: Minnamurra River, May 2010. Depth 1m. One of two juveniles sighted on the day.

Comment Attachment

Mark McGrouther - 8.08 AM, 03 August 2009
Hi Jonathan. Thank you for submitting the photo of the juvenile. The species is 'officially' recorded south as far as Sydney, so your juvenile is right at the southern recorded limit to distribution. Juveniles are more commonly orange, but the characteristic black bands crossing the abdomen are clearly visible on 'your' fish. Thanks again, Mark
Jonathan - 9.08 PM, 02 August 2009
Very juvenile A. stellatus in Sydney Harbour (Chowder Bay). Found in about 4m of water on 2 August, 2009.

Comment Attachment

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