Smooth Puffer - Lagocephalus laevigatus
This species can be found from New England to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico and can reach lengths to 2 feet. It is not considered a common fish and is rarely caught by hook and line. The current Texas state record is 10.75 lbs, 30 inches, caught in April of 2001. Little is known about other life history aspects of this species but they generally inhabit inshore/nearshore areas over sandy or muddy bottoms. They feed on other fish and shrimp. Most puffers are toxic, containing a very potent and potentially deadly neurotoxin that is concentrated in the liver, skin and gonads. It rarely seeps into the muscle however, extreme care must be given when cleaning and any fillets that could have been contaminated should be immediately discarded.