Range/Geographical Distribution: From Maine south to Brazil, including the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitat: Sea grass beds, coastal lagoons, estuaries, and reefs.
Description: Green/brown oval body with black or brown stripes on top and sides; whitish belly. Dark spot at the base of the dorsal and anal fins as well as above and behind the pectoral fins. Body covered with short, immovable spines.
Size: Can reach ten inches in length.
Food: Small fish, barnacles, sea whip, snails, crabs, and clams.
Breeding: Thought to spawn offshore at night, but there is little research.
Predators: Not many predators can get past the burrfish’s formidable spines when it inflates its body with water.
Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by the IUCN.
Interesting Facts: Striped burrfish have the ability to inflate their body with water or air in order to intimidate predators. Once inflated, this fish appears twice its original size but also loses all maneuverability. Burrfish have a single tooth in each jaw that is fused to form a parrotlike beak.
On the Coast: Striped burrfish are common along Georgia’s beaches and juveniles are often found in the estuaries during the summer.