Three-toothed puffer ….. a first for the East London Museum

JohanDeetlefs (who caught the fish) with Gideon du Preez and his son Bradley pose with the rare Three-toother pufferfish

Three-toothed puffer (Triodon macropterus). Note the extended belly flap and eye-looking lateral black spot

The museum has been affiliated with marine specimens since its informal inception in the early 1920’s. Many interesting specimens have been reported over the decades, including the world famous coelacanth (saved for science in 1938 by Marje Courtenay-Latimer). Recently reports and specimens of the Opah, Oceanic lightfish and sunfish have been brought to our attention (see previous posts). Today a most unusual puffer fish was deposited at the institution. Confirmed by museum fish expert, Greg Brett, as a Three-toothed puffer, this deep dwelling species which is found in tropical Indo-Pacific waters was caught near East London by fishermen operating close to the edge of the continental shelf. Foul-hooked in 90 meters of water this rare find may be a new range extension of the species and this will be confirmed by fish scientist Dr Phil Heemstra of the SA Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity in Grahamstown (SAIAB).

East London Museum scientist, Kevin Cole discussed the value of the catch with Mr Gideon du Preez and it was decided to log the find scientifically with the museum before it is formally handed over to SAIAB. The family of fish Triodontidae has the genus Triodon and this species Triodon macropterus is the only living example in this genus. Fossil records of other members of the family Triodontidae date back 33-56 million years ago.

The museum gratefully acknowledges this donation of a valuable scientific specimen by Johan Deetlefs, Gideon du Preez and Bradley du Preez (all local East London fishermen).

JohanDeetlefs (who caught the fish), Gideon du Preez and his son Bradley pose with the rare Three-toother pufferfish

L-R. Johan Deetlefs (who caught the fish), Bradley du Preez and his father Gideon pose with the rare Three-toothed puffer

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About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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