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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Shipwreck Exhibit (Tropical Diver)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia and Maine to the Bahamas and northern Gulf of Mexico south to Brazil. Uncommon in most of the West Indies.
  • Found in seagrass beds and reef environments in coastal waters at depths to 36 feet (11 m).

Physical Characteristics

  • Coloration is light tan to yellowish brown with many darker, wavy stripes running up and down along the back and sides. Some individuals also have large dark spots behind the dorsal and pectoral fins. Body is covered in short, sharp spines.
  • Maximum length of about 11 inches (28 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists primarily of small marine invertebrates, but will occasionally graze on algae.
  • Feeds by using its beak to crush its prey. May consume prey whole.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Oviparous, or egg laying species. Believed to spawn at night.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Able to take in water to greatly inflate body into a spike-covered ball as a defense against predators.