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Fugu (blowfish)

Did you know that… ?
  • ...the Japanese name "Fugu" translates to "river pig"?
  • ...only certain chefs may prepare the blowfish, after having gone through a three-year school and receiving a special license?
  • acquire a license, a chef must prepare a blowfish for himself?
  • ...blowfish are one of the most passively poisonous fish in the world, during the span 1927 to 1949, they killed at least 2688 people?
  • ...a close relative of the blowfish is the porcupinefish, which, like the blowfish, can suck in water and expand its body?
  • ...when a blowfish is raised in captivity, it is not poisonous?
  • ...the blowfish is the first fish whose genome has been completely read?
  • ...importing Fugu into the European Union is prohibited?
Arothron nigropunctatus
Practical info
Basic information:
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Osteichthyes (fish)
Maximum length - 60 cm
Eats - aqueous invertebrates
Habitat - Japan, China
Type of poison - neurotoxin
Distinguishing marks:
Medium large fish with a beak-like mouth. Has a rounded body without scales, or with tiny spikes, and no ventral fin. Blowfish can suck water into a special stomach chamber and expand their body, similarly to a porcupinefish.
Characteristics and poison

The blowfish is considered a delicacy in Japan, but is deadly dangerous. The tissues of the fish (especially the reproductive organs, liver, intestines and skin) of some blowfish contain the poison tetrodotoxin. The first signs of poisoning appear within 30 minutes of ingestion. Numbness of the tongue, lips and fingertips come first. Next are headaches, fatigue, lassitude, speech impediment and difficulty to breathe. Gradual paralysis of the breathing muscles follows, with coma and death within 24 hours of eating a blowfish.