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This book is a given for recreational and commercial fishermen as well as anyone who loves the outdoors! Since most anglers identify their fish by reviewing illustrations rather than using scientific keys, the authors have succeeded in making fishing easier by providing superb illustrations and detailed diagnostics for fish identification. A valuable, one-stop reference tool for everyday anglers, fisheries experts, biologists, and outdoors writers, this guide includes intensively researched information on 207 species of saltwater fish, essential data on each speciesí habitat, identification, typical size, and food value. By Jerald Horst & Mike Lane, illustrated by Duane Raver. 207 species.

Puffer, Southern
Spheroidea nephelus

Illustrations by: Duane Raver     Click image for large version.
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Family:  Puffers  (Tetraodontidae)
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Other Names :Puffer, Blowfish, Southern Puffer
Range & Habitat :This fish is most common in the southern Gulf of Mexico, followed by the eastern Gulf. It is found in bays and shallow offshore waters out to 65 feet deep and is more common near pilings, piers and bridges.
Identification & Biology :The general shape of this fish is broad and blunt-headed, steadily tapering toward the tail. Small prickles are usually, but not always, found on the body. Its color is brown on the back with large gray to black spots and light irregular-shaped reticulations. Some round black spots are also found on the lower sides. Males in spawning condition are often covered with red or orange spots.

Southern puffers tend to be solitary, but will occur in loose groups in favored locations, such as near bridge pilings. They use their powerful jaws to eat mobile or encrusting hard shelled animals as well as to scavenge almost any type of animal matter. The southern puffer will inflate its body when threatened.
Size :Maximum size is 10 inches.
Food Value :Reports are mixed, with some similar to the food value recommendation for the smooth puffer and others recommending no consumption due to mild toxicity or because of resemblance to other toxic species.
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter

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