Dicotylichthys punctulatus – Three-Barred Porcupinefish
Dicotylichthys punctulatus was first described in 1855 by Johann Jakob Kaup. They belong to the of the Porcupinefishes or Burr Fishes (Diodontidae). Dicotylilchthys is a monotypic genus, which means that this genus has only one species. In total the family knows only has 18 species in 7 genera.
The species name punctulatus means speckled a reference to the black dots on the body. Their common name is Three-Barred Porcupinefish after the three dark vertical stripes on their flank.
The Three-Barred Porcupinefish has a green-gray to bluish-gray color on the upper half of the fish. Its belly is white. On his flank you can see three vertical dark stripes, one over the eye, one over the operculum and one behind the pectoral fin. The body is littered with stiff spines that they cannot mount. There are clear black points between the spines. The fins are all light yellow. They can reach a total length of around 40 to 45 centimeters.
In general, they live solitary. They are nocturnal animals that retreat between the rocks and reefs during the day.
Dicotylichthys punctulatus can only be found along the east coast of Australia from Moreton Bay down to Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania. They inhabit the estuaries and reefs at depths of 1 to 50 meters.
With their mouths and powerful jaws, they hunt scaled invertebrates such as shrimp, lobsters and snails.
Dicotylichthys punctulatus – Three-Barred Porcupinefish is not suitable for the aquariums at home due to its size. They are therefore not caught for the aquarium trade.
John de Lange