Animal Species:Stars-and-stripes Puffer, Arothron hispidus (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Stars-and-stripes Puffer grows to over 50 cm in length. Like many of its relatives, it has poisonous skin and internal organs.

Standard Common Name

Stars-and-stripes Puffer

Alternative Name/s

Broad Barred Puffer, Broad-Barred Puffer, Broad-barred Toadfish, Ringed Puffer, Stars And Stripes Puffer, Stars And Stripes Toadfish, Stars And Stripes Toado, Whitespotted Puffer


The Stars-and-stripes Puffer can be recognised by its colour pattern. The body is greenish to yellowish brown above and white below. The upper sides of the body and caudal fin are covered in small white spots. The lower sides have white to pale blue lines. The pectoral fin base and gill opening are enclosed by alternating dark and light rings.

This species has the typical rounded body shape of many of the pufferfishes (family Tetraodontidae). It has a single dorsal fin positioned posteriorly on the body, opposite the similarly-sized anal fin.

Size range

The Stars-and-stripes Puffer grows to 51 cm in length.


The Stars-and-stripes Puffer occurs in tropical and warm temperate marine waters throughout the Indo-Pacific.

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

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 hispidus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Stars-and-stripes Puffer specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


Habitats range from estuaries to coral reefs.

Feeding and Diet

This species feeds on a variety of foods including algae, coral, sponges, starfish, molluscs, anemones and other invertebrates. The mouth is beak-like. The teeth in both the upper and lower jaws are fused into two "plates". This distinctive dentition gives rise to the scientific name for the family, Tetraodontidae, which means four teeth.

Danger to humans and first aid

 Like all fishes in the family this species contains a potentially lethal toxin (tetrodotoxin) in the skin and internal organs.



What does this mean?


  1. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  3. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557. (as the Stars and Stripes Puffer)

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags poisonous, toxic, fishes, ichthyology, Stars-and-stripes Puffer, Arothron hispidus, Tetraodontidae, brown, white, black, yellow, 'normal fish', 30 cm - 1 m, dots/spots, marine, adult, spots, lines, stripes,