Pufferfish Essay

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The Family Tetraodontidae and its Toxic Defense Mechanism Tetraodontidae, a family commonly known as the pufferfish, uses unique defense mechanisms in the wild to protect themselves against predators. Pufferfish diet consists mainly of invertebrates, so they are not viewed as dangerous or predatory animals in their ecosystems. These defense mechanisms are necessary to the survival of the Tetraodontidae family. The Tetraodontidae family’s defense mechanisms of inflation and use of the deadly neurotoxin tetrodotoxin make the family especially devastating to any predator that dares to ingest it. Tetraodontiforme is an order of the Acanthomorpha taxon, which primarily consists of spiny, ray finned fish with unsegmented spines (Tyler, et al., 2007). Out of the 16,000 species of acanthomorph fishes, only 350 of them are Tetraodontiformes (Tyler, et al., 2007). Typically found in tropical regions of the world, Tetraodontiforme fishes are grouped into only ten extant families that include …show more content…
Tetrodotoxin is made of a Guanidinium group and a pyrimidine ring which helps to stabilize the compound (Bane, et al., 2014). The molecule is heterocyclic and small which allows it to directly affect the sodium channel in nerves. Since the molecule is also organic, it is also water soluble (Johnson, 2012). This stops the spread of tetrodotoxin into a water supply. Tetrodotoxin blocks the voltage-gated sodium channels on nerve membranes (Bane, et al., 2014). This occurs due to tetrodotoxin mimicking of the sodium ion, which allows binding to occur, blocking all other sodium ions from entering (Bane, et al., 2014). This is considered an irreversible effect. Sodium is not able to enter the channel and shuts down the channel, causing action potential on nerve membrane to stop (Bane, et al., 2014). When action potential on a nerve membrane stops, this works to actively paralyze and shut down a predator’s body (Bane, et al.,

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