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Adorable baby-faced fish has surprisingly ferocious side

The porcupine fish is one of the oddest and cutest fish on the reefs. It is often referred to as the "fish with the baby face". Looking at it face on, its big, puppy-dog eyes and small, puckered mouth give it a cherub-like face that is delightful to see. The fish swims awkwardly and barely uses its tail for propulsion. It moves forward by flapping its dorsal fin and its anal fin, only using its tail when required for an immediate burst of speed. Their bulky bodies and large heads make them a very slow moving fish, but they don’t actually need speed to protect them from predators. A porcupine fish is capable of rapidly inhaling air or water to inflate to two or three ties their normal size. This makes them impossible to swallow except by only the largest of sharks or killer whales. When a porcupine fish inflates, sharp spines protrude outward on the surface of this fish to make it even more difficult to swallow. As another method of self defense, the porcupine fish stores a neurotoxin in its organs that is 1200 times as powerful as cyanide. In fact, one porcupine fish contains enough toxin to kill 30 grown men, if it were ingested. The porcupine fish is no threat to humans, unless harassed or annoyed. A video surfaced recently that showed a scuba diver wiggling his finger toward a large porcupine fish and repeatedly encroaching on its space. The porcupine bit the scuba diver, severing his finger and reminding us that even the most docile and gentle of creatures has a limit that should not be exceeded. Porcupine fish do have sharp teeth and strong jaws, despite their smaller size. Their teeth continue to grow throughout their life, being worn down by chewing. Charles Darwin mentioned this fish in his account of the famous trip around the world, The Voyage of the Beagle, and he explained that porcupine fish had occasionally been found in the stomachs of sharks. He also noted that these fish had the ability to chew their way through the stomach and even the side of the shark to escape. This makes it very obvious that appearances can be deceiving and the creatures of the ocean should never be underestimated.




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