Often referred to as the evileye blaasop, the evileye pufferfish is an abundant species in South Africa. It is found from the Cape Peninsula to the Mozambique border, and unconfirmed reports suggest that its range may extend
across the Indo-Pacific to Thailand, China and the Philippines. It is considered abundant in South Africa, and is found at depths of up to 35 metres. It prefers the brackish, turbid waters of large estuaries (like the Umkomaas River). It is thought that juvenile evileye pufferfish create nursery areas in sandy surf zones. Reaching a maximum length of 30 centimetres, this species is blackish-brown in colour, with a white underside and yellow-white spots on the top half of its body. It is highly toxic, and cannot be consumed by humans.
Sometimes called the blackedged blaasop, the immaculate blow fish or the narrow-lined toadfish, the immaculate puffer enjoys a wide range throughout the Indo-west Pacific. It favours silty substrates, and can be found in a variety of
different habitats – including coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. The immaculate puffer prefers depths of less than 30 metres. It grows up to 30 centimetres in length, and is pale beige in colour with yellow pectoral and caudal fins and a bright gold iris. Its skin is covered in spiny scales, and it can inflate its abdomen with water in order to appear larger to potential predators. Like most pufferfish, it can also produce and accumulate toxins. Its flesh is poisonous, but it is still sometimes collected for the aquarium trade.
The blue-spotted blaasop is found from South Africa to Tanzania, and is thought to be relatively rare. It is associated especially with mangroves and seagrass beds, and favours shallow inshore and estuarine environments no more than
10 metres deep. The blue-spotted blaasop grows up to 20 centimetres in length, and has large, bluish spots interrupted by four dark vertical bars. The first of these intersects its eye, and the last crosses the caudal peduncle (the join of the tail and body). This species is capable of gulping water and storing it in its abdomen to inflate its size, and can also produce toxins. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, although its dependence on threatened seagrass and mangrove beds could eventually put the species at risk.
Other Species Also Found on Aliwal Shoal
White-Spotted Puffer – Arothron hispidus