Lagocephalus lagocephalus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Tetraodontiformes Tetraodontidae

Scientific Name: Lagocephalus lagocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Oceanic Puffer, Oceanic Blaasop, Puffer, Pufferfish, Rabbit Puffer
French Compère Lièvre, Compère Océanique
Spanish Botete Oceánico, Pez Globo, Tamboril Liebre, Tamboril Oceanico, Tamboril Oceánico
Lagocephalus lagocephalus ssp. lagocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lagocephalus lagocephalus ssp. nigridorsum Fowler, 1944
Tetraodon janthinus Vaillant & Sauvage, 1875
Tetraodon lagocephalus Linnaeus, 1758
Tetrodon pennantii Yarrell, 1836
Tetrodon stellatus Donovan, 1804

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-06-08
Assessor(s): Hardy, G., Jing, L., Leis, J.L., Liu, M., Matsuura, K. & Shao, K.
Reviewer(s): Lyczkowski-Shultz, J. & Zapfe, G.
Contributor(s): Stump, E.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Carpenter, K.E., Comeros-Raynal, M., Harwell, H. & Sanciangco, J.
Lagocephalus lagocephalus is found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tropical and subtropical waters. It has been reported to depths of 1,000 m. It appears to be abundant in some parts of its range. This species is primarily oceanic, but may occasionally enter estuaries. There are no confirmed species-specific threats to L. lagocephalus. Its distribution overlaps with marine protected areas. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Lagocephalus lagocephalus is found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tropical and subtropical waters. In the western Atlantic, it is found in Newfoundland, Canada and southward to Brazil (Figueiredo and Menezes 2000). In the eastern Atlantic, it is found from Orkney Island and the Azores and southward to South Africa (but very rare in the north), it is also in the Mediterranean (Tortonese 1986). In the eastern Pacific, this species occurs from southern California to Chile (Accessed through the Fishnet2 Portal,, 2014-05-27).

The western Pacific/Indo-Pacific populations of this species were previously considered a subspecies Lagocephalus lagocephalus oceanicus, while those in the Atlantic were previously considered the subspecies Lagocephalus lagocephalus lagocephalus. Individuals have been collected from depths of 476 m. 

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; American Samoa; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Brazil (Trindade); British Indian Ocean Territory; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Chile (Easter Is.); China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is., Spratly Is.); Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador (Galápagos); Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Fiji; France (Clipperton I.); French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guernsey; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jersey; Kenya; Kiribati (Kiribati Line Is., Phoenix Is.); Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; New Caledonia; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Niue; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Portugal (Azores, Madeira); Puerto Rico; Qatar; Réunion; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Ascension, Saint Helena (main island)); Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Spain (Canary Is.); Sri Lanka; Suriname; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tokelau; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom (Great Britain); United States (Hawaiian Is.); United States Minor Outlying Islands (Howland-Baker Is., Johnston I., Wake Is.); Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central; Pacific – northeast; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):476
Upper depth limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Juveniles are commonly collected by trawl surveys conducted in western Hong Kong waters (M. Liu pers. comm. 2011). Specimens of L. lagocephalus appear to be common in museum collections, however, it is important to note that many specimens are identified at the subspecies level. Lagocephalus lagocephalus is well represented in collections worldwide, having 133 occurrences (FishNet2 retrieved 13 March 2014).

There are no other species-specific data concerning the population of L. lagocephalus in the Gulf of Mexico.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Lagocephalus lagocephalus is a benthopelagic, oceanodromous species that occurs in subtropical waters between depths of 10 to 1,000 m, but is usually found between 10 and 100 m (Palomares et al. 1989, Anon 2001, Shipp 2002, Riede 2004). It is primarily oceanic, but may occasionally enter estuaries (Eschmeyer et al. 1983, Smith and Heemstra 1986, Schneider 1990). This species feeds on crustaceans and squids (Tortonese 1986). Maximum total length for this species is 61.0 cm male/unsexed (Eschmeyer et al. 1983), maximum published weight is 3.2 kg (IGFA 2001).

Puffers of the genus Lagocephalus are globally distributed in warm shallow waters, however classification at the species level in Lagocephalus has not yet been studied in depth, causing confusion in the status of several species including L. cheesemanii, L. gloveri, L. spadiceus and L. wheeleri (Matsuura et al. 2011).

Tetraodontids are characterized by a tough skin that is often covered with small spinulous scales, a beak-like dental plate divided by a median suture, a slit-like gill opening anterior to the base of the pectoral fin, no pelvic fins, no fin spines, a single usually short-based dorsal fin, a single usually short-based anal fin, and no ribs. They are capable of inflating their abdomens with water when frightened or disturbed and are capable of producing and accumulating toxins such as tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin in the skin, gonads, and liver. The degree of toxicity varies by species, and also according to geographic area and season (Allen and Randall 1977, Allen and Erdmann 2012). Fishes in the family Tetraodontidae have the smallest vertebrate genomes known to date (Neafsey and Palumbi 2003).



Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There is little species-specific use and trade information for L. lagocephalus. In the Persian Gulf, Lagocephalus lagocephalus is of commercial importance to the fisheries industry as a gamefish (Froese and Pauly 2011). Lagocephalus lagocephalus is harvested by small-scale artisanal fisheries in parts of its range (Denadai et al. 2012). In Senegal, this species and Lagocephalus laevigatus are the most commonly consumed tetraodontids in households, and are often prepared in rice-based dishes (Fall et al. 2013). 

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is taken as bycatch and incidental catch throughout its range. In the Persian Gulf, this species is taken as bycatch in the shrimping industry. It is also taken as bycatch in long-line fisheries (Pajuelo et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Lagocephalus lagocephalus. There are several marine protected areas within its wide distribution.

Citation: Hardy, G., Jing, L., Leis, J.L., Liu, M., Matsuura, K. & Shao, K. 2014. Lagocephalus lagocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T190464A19929421. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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