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75. A feeding Blackspotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus)



Subject:

A Blackspotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) is feeding on the twigs of a black coral bush (Antipathes sp.). Like all members of his family (Tetraodontidae), he is equipped with a beak-like mouth. This mouth is equipped with only four large in-pairs-together-fused teeth. This beak-like structure is similar to the beak of parrotfishes. The Blackspotted Puffer’s powerful jaws are used to break off pieces of black coral, his preferred food. Each jaw holds a fused together pair of teeth. Although they feed mainly on live tips of branching corals, other items such as tunicates, crustose coralline algae, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoids like urchins are also on the Blackspotted Puffer’s menu.


The English name “puffer” refers to the fish’s effective ability to inflate itself to prevent predation. This is done by swallowing vast quantities of water. When inflated, its rough sandpaper-like skin structure also exposes hundreds of denticles. When the threat has vanished, the puffer uses muscles along its abdomen to squeeze the water back out of its mouth.


As a slow and sluggish swimmer, it is easily caught by predators. If this should happen, the Blackspotted Puffer has a second trick up its sleeve; it produces tetraodontoxin. This poison is stored in its skin, liver, and gonads.


The Blackspotted Puffer comes in different colour variations and combinations. There are beige, blue, yellow and grey individuals and some bare a combination of these colours.


Technique:

Sound is an important part of the clip, and therefore it is best to remove all sounds from the original footage and add suitable sounds to increase the veracity of the scene. When filming underwater, the only sound that is really audible on the footage is the diver’s breath and the noisy release of bubbles through the diver’s regulator. In underwater videos or nature films, these sounds would lower the quality of your footage drastically.


Therefore, you need to create an atmosphere with newly added sounds to create the illusion that the viewer is actually underwater, without distracting or unpleasant noises. One way to achieve this is by recording ambient sounds such as waves, ocean currents, and marine life, and layering them in the background. This can enhance the realism of the scene and make the viewer feel as if they are truly immersed in the underwater environment.


Additionally, adding specific sound effects such as the crawling of shrimps or the sound of a fast swimming fish (whoosh) by can also help to create a more dynamic and engaging audio experience for the viewer. Ultimately, taking the time to carefully consider and craft the sound design for your underwater footage can greatly enhance its impact and overall quality. Many of these sounds can be easily found and downloaded on the Internet. Use your imagination; if you search for “breaking coral branches” as needed in this underwater videoclip, there is a big chance that you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for. But a sound like “eating crisps” that can easily be used in this context is much easier to find.


Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Mauritius 🇲🇺


More on this topic:

For other pufferfish insights please go to these vlog posts:


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