Pufferfish seem to make headlines for all kinds of interesting behaviors from chasing lasers, apparently mourning the loss of a friend, and especially for helping dolphins to get high. But no pufferfish behavior garnered more attention than the elaborate “underwater crop circles” discovered in Japanese seabeds.
The identity of the pufferfish species responsible for the elaborate underwater sand art was unclear before but now it has been ascribed to a new species which was officially described as a new species, Torquigener albomaculosus. While the newly described “circle builder” from Japan gained worldwide attention for its peculiar habit of building these elaborate sand structures, Torquigener albomaculosus is actually the 21st species to join this genus whose namesake actually refers to this ability: Torquis Generare which loosely translates to “circle builder”.
The underwater sand circles built by Torquigener albomaculosus are some of the most elaborate in the genus and they are believed to be built for dual purpose, both for the male to attract a female mate, and as a nest to protect the eggs which are laid in the center of the formation. The Japanese sand artist pufferfish is described by Keiichi Matsuura in the December edition of Ichthyological Research. [SpringerLink]