Color variation of the puffer Arothron hispidus (Linnaeus) and comparison with A. reticularis (Bloch & Schneider)

John E. Randall, Sergey V. Bogorodsky and Jean Michel Rose

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 41-54, Volume 18, Issue 1 – 15 January 2012

The Whitespotted Puffer, Arothron hispidus (Linnaeus), wide-ranging in the Indo-Pacific region and the tropical eastern Pacific, is very variable in color pattern. It has been misidentified as A. reticularis (Bloch & Schneider), which is also Indo-Pacific in distribution. Color variation of A. hispidus is documented, particularly in the Red Sea where it is unusually diverse in color pattern. The record of A. reticularis from the southern Red Sea by Roux-Estève (1956), recognized in three checklists of Red Sea fishes, is invalidated. The two species are distinguished by the area of skin covered by spinules and by color pattern. A subadult specimen of A. reticularis collected from fresh water in Palau represents a first record for Micronesia and an underwater photograph is a first record for New Caledonia. The need is stressed for specimens of the various color forms of A. hispidus, especially in the Red Sea, for morphological study, determination of possible sexual dichromatism and for molecular research.

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