Dangerous Fish Of Tetraodontidae Family Caught Near Rovinj

Lauren Simmonds

Tetraodontidae rovinj
Facebook/Aquarium Pula/Anton Vidovic

May the 14th, 2024 – One of the world’s most poisonous fish species, belonging to the Tetraodontidae family, was caught by a Slovenian fisherman close to Rovinj.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the fish recently caught in the waters near Rovinj in Istria contains an extremely potent poison, tetrodotoxin. The species in question is the Tetraodontidae, or “puffer”.

Tetrodotoxin causes severe medical issues and death if it is consumed. The substance is primarily concentrated in the animal’s liver, but it is also present on its very skin. It is assumed that a dose of just 1 to 2 mg is fatal – as was revealed by Aquarium Pula. They added that this individual member of the Tetraodontidae order was caught near Rovinj and photographed by Slovenian fisherman Anton Vidović.

The Tetraodontidae family is invasive and belongs to a group called Lessepsian migrants, which are fish species that enter the Mediterranean from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. Normally, these fish live in the tropical regions of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Due to its lack of natural enemies, this fish has a negative impact on biodiversity and poses a threat to fisheries. It damages fishing nets to get hold of anything caught inside, and even snatches bait from off fishing hooks.

Biologists believe that Tetraodontidae developed their famous “puffiness” because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them easy prey for predators. Instead of trying to swim quickly away, puffers use their elastic bodies and ability to rapidly ingest huge amounts of water (and even air when needed) to turn themselves into an almost inedible ball several times their normal size. They’re somewhat charming and comical to look at, but don’t let their sometimes clownish appearance fool you.

A predator who manages to grab hold of a so-called puffer will not enjoy their catch for long. Almost all of them, and that includes toadfish, blowfish, puffers, globefish, bubblefish, sugar toads and more, contain the aforementioned tetrodotoxin. It is a very strong neurotoxin that results in the paralysis of the nervous and respiratory systems, ending in death.

For humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1200 times more toxic than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one individual to kill 30 adults, and there is no known antidote, according to Morski.

Despite the alarming dangers posed by this fish, their meat is considered a delicacy called fugu in Japan. It is extremely expensive to purchase and is only prepared by highly trained, licensed chefs who are very aware that one bad cut results in almost certain death for the one who consumes it.


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