Tobies belong to the pufferfish family. They are members of a subfamily also known as the “sharpnosed pufferfish”. Tobies are generally smaller then pufferfish and can also inflate their bodies if threatened (although not as much as the pufferfish). They rely on toxins which are stored in thier skin. They also have strong jaws with a crushing plates in their mouth that can pack a painful bite. They use this bite to feed on urchins, corals and crustaceans. They can be seen shooting a spray of water in the sand to uncover their prey.
The Crowned toby, or pu‘u olai, is found only in Hawai‘i. The three dark saddles on its back represented the flow of lava which is where the hawaiian name orignates from meaning “cinder cone”. They are peppered with beautiful yellow dots all over their body and almost luminesent blue ane yellow lines radiate out from their eyes.
photos courtesy Sandi Strickland