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Striped Burrfish

Chilomycterus schoepfii

The striped burrfish has a round body and a parrot-like beak.
The striped burrfish has a round body and a parrot-like beak.

The striped burrfish is a small, yellowish-green puffer fish covered with short, sharp spines. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s grassy flats from spring through autumn.


  • Short, round body
  • Yellowish-green with dark, wavy stripes
  • Head and body covered with short, sharp spines
  • Large, dark spots at the base of the dorsal fin, and above and behind the pectoral fins
  • Strong, parrot-like beak
  • Grows to 10 inches long


  • Bottom-dweller, found in areas near bay grass beds
  • Mostly solitary


  • Visits the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay from late spring to autumn
  • Reaches as far north as the Patuxent River
  • Leaves the Bay to spend winter in warmer southern waters


  • Feeds on invertebrates such as barnacles and hermit crabs
  • Uses its powerful beak-like jaws to crush and consume its prey
  • Sometimes eats its prey whole – shell and all!


  • Fends off predators by puffing its body into a spiny ball

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Little is known about its reproductive cycle
  • Believed to spawn offshore at night

Other Facts:

  • Burrfish are not very good swimmers. They move by squirting water out of their gill openings, which jets the fish forward.
  • If you happen to catch a spiny burrfish while fishing, please use extreme care when handling the fish to avoid getting injured by its sharp spines or powerful beak.

Sources and Additional Information:

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