A giant porcupine fish is settling in to a new home at Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire Oaks after being donated by a member of the public.
The fish, named Porky, is one of three large marine species which were given to the aquarium by an amateur fishkeeper.
All are in excellent condition and are being looked after in the aquarium’s quarantine before going on display.
Also known as the balloon fish and the hedgehog fish, the porcupine fish is probably best known as Bloat the blowfish from the film ‘Finding Nemo’.
Fully grown specimens can reach up to a foot in length and will eat virtually anything that comes within range.
The fish’s teeth have become fused into a type of beak which allows them to bite through the hard shells of crabs, clams and other shellfish.
As well as Porky, the anonymous fishkeeper also donated a queen angel fish and a white spot puffer fish.
“All three are doing extremely well and have clearly been very well looked after,” said Blue Planet Aquarium’s Adam Mitchell.
“They are also large, fully mature specimens and will be a great addition to our existing tropical marine displays.
“At the moment visitors can see them as part of our Access All Areas tours and they will be moved in to their own displays over the coming weeks,” he added.
Found throughout the world in tropical waters the porcupine puffer fish, gets its name from its ability to puff up when threatened. Its body is covered with tiny spines that stick out when the fish is fully inflated making it virtually impossible to attack.
A second defence mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which radiate outwards when the fish is inflated.
Some species are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their internal organs. This neurotoxin is at least 1,200 times more potent than cyanide and is produced by several types of bacteria that are obtained via the fish’s diet.
As a result of these three defences, porcupinefish have few predators, although adults are sometimes hunted by sharks and orcas. Juveniles are also preyed on by tuna and dolphins.
See the Blue Planet Aquarium website at http://www.blueplanetaquarium.co.uk/