Northern Puffer

Sphoeroides maculatus

The puffer also goes by the name blowfish. Both names describe this fish’s habit of blowing itself up like a balloon when it feels threatened. It uses either water or air to accomplish this feat.

The northern puffer sometimes shows up in our nets in the salty water of New York Harbor. Seldom more than ten inches long, those we catch are usually young fish only a few inches long. Puffers are brownish or greenish above, white below, with some dark markings along the sides. Their teeth form a beak used to nip at clams and other bottom life in their diet. The meat along the backbone is quite delicious, and has been sold in markets as sea squab.