There's an adorable newcomer to our I&J Ocean Exhibit- meet "Pawpaw" the pufferfish!
Pawpaw is a guineafowl puffer (Arothron meleagris) that was given to the Aquarium by a local pet store that received him unintentionally as part of a consignment. Guineafowl puffers are usually brown with white spots, but also occur with a more unusual (and more desirable) yellow colour variant in nature - probably the reason Pawpaw was collected in the first place. However, guineafowl puffers grow very large, so not the type of fish that is suited for any but the very largest home aquariums!
Wherever Pawpaw was supposed to have ended up, we're glad that we're able to provide this beautiful one-eyed fish with a suitable home, and we're very sure that goofy-looking pufferfish grin is going to become a fast favourite amongst our visitors.
About guineafowl puffers
Guineafowl puffers have a wide range, living on rocky and coral reefs from Durban to the Red Sea, Japan's Ryuku Islands and across the Pacific to Easter Island and Mexico.
In nature, these puffers have three distinct colour variations. The most common is brown with many white spots, followed by yellow with black blotches (like Pawpaw), and finally a mix of the two. Puffers don't rely on camouflage and prefer to face threats "head on" and puff themselves up by rapidly sucking in water to make themselves appear larger. Colours that help them stand out from the background are greatly beneficial.
Guineafowl puffers are grazers and use their powerful beaks to consume corals, coralline algae, sponges, echinoderms and other invertebrates. This beak is formed from specially modified front teeth that are adapted to scrape food off of rocks and crush hard-bodied prey.
They are weak swimmers, owing to their unusual shape which is primarily adapted to "puffing up" defensively. However, although they look like squashed spheres when moving slowly, they are able to stretch and compress themselves when swimming quickly.
Be sure to visit Pawpaw in our I&J Ocean Exhibit the next time you're at the Two Oceans Aquarium - you can usually spot him near the rocks to the side of the main viewing panels.