Puffer Fish are one of the most curious fish you will be lucky enough to dive with here on Koh Tao. Possibly due to their highly efficient defense mechanism, they can afford to be confident when meeting new beings in their habitat! In addition to being highly poisonous, when scared, they also inflate themselves to 2 or 3 times their usual size thus deterring predators from snapping them up.
It’s unclear whether this puffing action of the fish is bad for them… many say it’s an urban myth that pufferfish can only puff up a limited number times before the amount of adrenaline required to achieve this becomes too much for them and kills them. Regardless of whether this is the case divers should all be urged to keep well away and not take advantage of these inquisitive creatures and indeed adopt the hands off policy, remembering that we have come along, without invitation and therefore need to show maximum respect at all times.
There are many pufferfish to see around the dive sites of Koh Tao. You can see them moving through the water like tiny hovercrafts with their big eyes peering up at you! Often they will reside under rocks during the daytime with the blue spotted ribbon tail rays due to their nocturnal nature and as such you will likely encountered much more pufferfish action when you night dive.
Koh Tao’s artificial reef, Junkyard, is home to an extremely friendly giant pufferfish who if you kneel down and wait, will gladly cruise over and say hello whilst circling you which is a truly awesome feeling!
The Blotched Porcupine (diodon liturous) has an extra defense in that its skin is covered in large spines which when they inflate stick out hence causing quite some trouble for the predator that attempts to capture it! Heart shaped eyes are also a feature of the porcupine fish, giving it a 180 degree field of vision, enabling it to be alerted of danger much quicker. Pottery Pinnacles, Junkyard, Twins and White Rock are dive sites favored by these maybe as there are lots of hiding places for them to sleep whilst divers are around during the day time!