Pufferfish from Baja California Sur

I found this on a beach on the East Cape of Cabo San Lucas.These fish inflate to discourage predators (and how!). They have no pelvis and few ribs, allowing them to inflate and become spherical without breaking bones. Their skin contains an abundance of collagen fibers that allow it to expand 30 to 40%.

From National Geographic:

…Toxicity A predator that manages to snag a puffer before it inflates won’t feel lucky for long. Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

As Food: Amazingly, the meat of some pufferfish is considered a delicacy. Called fugu in Japan, it is extremely expensive and only prepared by trained, licensed chefs who know that one bad cut means almost certain death for a customer. In fact, many such deaths occur annually.…

I have it hanging in my shop. Kids love it.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

One Response to Pufferfish from Baja California Sur

  1. A man I knew ate pufferfish frequently and lived into his 90’s. He owned a neighborhood market, was very popular, Japanese. Fishermen would give him their pufferfish. He said he enjoyed the tingling sensation. I saw his son today in Costco, he took over the store when his father retired.

    Tetrodotoxin is a synaptic inhibitor, it causes breathing to cease. If given respiratory aid, full recovery ensues. It is not a nerve poison. The same poison is used by natives in the upper Amazon.They get it from frogs, and put the poison on the tip of their blowgun darts. The darts are made of slender pieces of bamboo, and the tips are notched. When a monkey tries to pull a dart out, the tip breaks off and remains. When breathing slows down, the prey is caught.

    Jorge Feuerbringer explained this to me in Colombia, his wife was Cofani.

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