Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer is also known as the saddled puffer or black saddled toby.
It’s a small fish that lives in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Pacific Ocean islands.
This fish is mostly found in rocky and coral reefs, lagoons, and external reef areas up to 55 meters deep.
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer has four black stripes on its back, with a blue-grey head and white body covered in blue-grey spots.
Its tail and fins have hints of yellow, along with a rainbow streak behind its eyes.
Active during the day, it eats green and red algae, tunicates (marine animals), corals, bryozoans (moss animals), polychaetes (worms), echinoderms (spiny-skinned animals), mollusks (like snails), and brown/red coralline algae.
Valentin’s sharpnose puffers are toxic if eaten.
They sometimes form schools with non-toxic Paraluteres prionurus filefish that have evolved to mimic them for protection against predators.
This fish lives among coral heads/rocks in subtidal lagoon/seaward reefs at various depths.
Male Valentin’s sharpnose puffers are territorial and often fight each other.
It’s advised to exercise caution when adding these fish to a reef aquarium due to their tendency toward aggression as well as the potential harm caused by their diet consisting of corals, tunicates, bryozoans/etc., which can affect sensitive species within your tank.
Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer Interesting Facts
- Valentin’s sharpnose puffers are toxic and mimic non-toxic filefish for protection.
- They inhabit coral reefs in tropical waters between 32°N to 32°S latitudes.
- Males defend female territories, resulting in multiple mating partners.
- Females lay their eggs on the ocean floor after a unique spawning ritual.
Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer Habitat
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer is found in the Indo-Pacific region. Its habitat stretches from the Red Sea to Durban, South Africa, and eastward to the Tuamoto Islands.
It also lives from southern Japan down to Lord Howe Island.
This fish resides in marine environments, specifically coral reefs, at depths of 1 to 55 meters (3 to 180 feet).
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer thrives in tropical waters between latitudes 32°N to 32°S.
Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer Physical Characteristics
Size: 4.3 inches (11.0 centimeters)
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer grows up to 4.3 inches (11.0 centimeters) long.
This fish reaches maturity at around: 1.6 to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters).
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer fish has no dorsal or anal spines, but it does have 9 soft rays on both its dorsal and anal fins.
It has two noticeable dark bars on its side that extend to its belly.
This fish is mainly white with light brown spots and four dark brown to black saddle-like markings, with the middle two extending onto the belly area.
The body depth at the start of the anal fin is about 2.5 to 2.9 times smaller than its standard length, while the head length is about 2.2 to 2.5 times smaller than the standard length.
This fish’s snout length measures around 1.4 to 1.6 times shorter than its head length; its tail-stem depth is about 2.2 to 2.8 times shorter than its head length; and it has a slightly rounded tail fin.
Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer Reproduction
Valentin’s sharpnose puffer is an oviparous species, meaning it lays eggs. Its social and mating systems revolve around female territoriality.
Males defend females in a certain territory, resulting in polygyny (multiple mates). All mature females are territorial.
During breeding, they perform a “caudal flexing with swollen abdomen display” to signal courtship and readiness to spawn.
Males acknowledge this by frequently visiting the site but don’t show any courtship or color displays.
Females prepare for egg-laying by pecking at the substrate. They initiate spawning by pressing their abdomen into the prepared site.
Males then lay their bodies across the female’s caudal peduncle (tail region) for 5 to 10 seconds before swimming away.
Afterward, females beat their anal fin rapidly over the nest site to ensure fertilization and push eggs into the algal substrate.
Territorial males mate with territorial females, leaving bachelor males without a chance to copulate.
However, these bachelor males don’t interfere with spawning between territorial pairs.