The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Arothron diadematus
Arothron diadematus
(masked pufferfish)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Arothron diadematus (Rüppell, 1829)

Common name: masked pufferfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Body shape is orbicular with short obtuse snout.  Small spinules present on body excluding the snout and caudal peduncle.  Rounded caudal fin.  Body color is tan to brown with distinct dark banding around eyes resembling a mask.  Dark spots or splotches sometimes occur on the body.  Fins typically darker in color.  Fins with no spines.  A single short dorsal fin that sits far back on the body; a short anal fin under the dorsal.  No pelvic fins.  From Randall (1983).

Native Range: Red Sea and Indian ocean.

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: In Florida, one individual was observed off Delray Beach in 1994 (REEF 2008).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Arothron diadematus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL199419941Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The masked puffer closely resembles and is considered conspecific to A. nigropunctatus (Bloch and Schneider) by some authors.  The species inhabits coral-rich fringe reefs (Lieske and Myers 1994) and likely feeds on coral tips, some crustaceans, and mollusks (Myers 1999).

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.

Status: Reported from Florida.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Lieske, E. and R. Myers.  1994.  Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers.

Myers, R. F.  1999.  Micronesian Reef Fishes.  A Field Guide for Divers and Aquarists.  Coral Graphics, Davie Florida.

Randall, J. E.  1983.  Red Sea Fishes.  IMMEL Publishing, London.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).  2008.  Exotic species sighting program and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Morris, James A., and Pamela J. Schofield

Revision Date: 9/18/2020

Peer Review Date: 4/29/2009

Citation Information:
Morris, James A., and Pamela J. Schofield, 2024, Arothron diadematus (Rüppell, 1829): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2761, Revision Date: 9/18/2020, Peer Review Date: 4/29/2009, Access Date: 7/17/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/17/2024].

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