Creature Feature: Striped Burrfish (Chilomycterus schoepfi)
A boxy, yellow-brown fish with parallel stripes, the striped burrfish is typically 4 to 8 inches in length but can grow up 10 inches. Their short, fixed spines distinguish them from the puffers.
What do they eat?
With tough beak-like teeth, the striped burrfish feeds on invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp, mussels as well as numerous crustaceans.
Who eats them?
The striped burrfish has very few predators due to their spiny body. They can inflate their body to twice its size by taking in water. However, man is a serious predator due to by-catch from fishing.
These boxy fish can be found in seagrass beds, coastal bays and lagoons, and sometimes on reefs, especially in the winter.
An easy way to differentiate the striped burrfish from its cousin, the porcupine puffer, is their permanently erect spines. The porcupine puffer’s spines fold back against its body until it’s inflated whereas the striped burrfish is always spikey.