Oceanic Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus
The Oceanic Puffer, Lagocephalus lagocephalus, whose common Spanish name is Botete Oceánico, is a member of the Puffer or Tetraodontidae Family, known collectively as “botetes” in Mexico.
The Oceanic Puffer has an elongated body whose width is 21-25% of standard length. The head and upper body is a dark blue green with gray brown tones. The sides are silver with black spots and the undersides are white. They have two toned anal and pectoral fins (upper third transparent, lower two-thirds dark) and the caudal and dorsal fins are dark. The head is large, projecting and blunt, with large elevated eyes, and a small mouth and a long snout that is longer than the distance between the eyes. They have strong powerful teeth. The pointed anal and dorsal fins are mid-sized, similar in shape and location with short bases and are found well back in the body. They have a slender caudal fin base and a slightly concave caudal fin with a longer lower lobe. The body skin is smooth with the exception that there are small spines that run from the chin to the anus on the ventral side. Overall the skin is tough and they are without scales.
The Oceanic Puffer is an oceanic pelagic that are also found in estuaries from the surface to depths of 3,300 feet. They reach a maximum length of 61 cm (24 inches). They are a rare poorly studied species and there is very limited information available about their behavioral patterns.
The Oceanic Puffer is an easy fish to identify and cannot be confused with any other species due their unique markings. They are a wide ranging species found in all global tropical and subtropical waters. They are found in all Mexican waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from northern portions of the Sea of Cortez.
The Oceanic Puffer is not normally taken by via hook and line with the majority of collections made by trawl nets. The amount, if any, of tetrodotoxin contained in their body and the related concerns about the potential health threat to humans from eating this fish is unknown. Until this is well documented I do not recommend the human consumption of this species.