Friday, February 22, 2008

Fishes of Mettams Pool, Marmion Marine Park (1) - Banded toadfish

Banded toadfish (Torquigener pleurogramma)

This is member of the pufferfish family.

Puffer fishes are really amazing creatures if you ask me. When threatened or when they freak out, the puffer fish simply puffs up its elastic belly with water or air. This makes it appear bigger suddenly, surprising its enemy. The pufferfish will then run for its life while its enemy is still trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Sometimes I wish I could do that.

I read this on Wikipedia:
  • Many members of the pufferfish family have a toxin named tetrodotoxin in their liver and other organs, for example, their skin. I think many are aware of this.
  • But what I didn't know is this: apparently, tetrodotoxin is produced by bacteria that the fish eats up! and that the toxin is a thousand times more deadly than cyanide. Wow!
You must take a look at this article on Wikipedia!

Another interesting bit of info is this. Some scientists managed to isolate some chemical from the pufferfish toxin and used it to make a powerful painkiller. It was reportedly 3000 times more powerful than morphine. No side effects and non-addictive! Wow - again!

Also, there is this story on this website of how a pet pufferfish would come and watch when its owner sing to it and go away when its owner stops singing. This is a website about keeping the pufferfish as a pet.

For crying out loud - did that pufferfish try to act like a dog?


sinye said...

isolated tetrodotoxin is much powerful than morphine if it's used as painkiller??
what a good news for me..
look like i can do a report on it during my research project in my 4th year.

btw, mr chai,i'm christine@sinye from inti a level. i wonder if you still remember me..i'm currently taking pharmacy course in malaysia.


Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Christine, or did I use to call you SinYe?

Anyway, I am so happy to get back in touch with you again. How did you find out about this blog anyway? Someone told you?

Cheers, Chai

sinye said...

i think you used to call me sinye. =)

yup,wei jin@eugene told me about this blog. i never expect to meet back mr chai here as well.

what PhD is mr chai taking right now?