Thalassophryne nattereri

Common Name

Brazilian Toadfish

Year Described

Steindachner, 1876


Dorsal Fin: II, 19-21
Anal Fin: 18-20
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Pelvic Fin: I, 2-3
Vertebrae: 7 precaudal, 21-23 caudal

Dorsal spines (2) hollow and venomous. Pectoral fins with no discrete, pored venom glands. Head large and dorso-ventrally flattened. Lateral line distinct. Eyes relatively small.


Body light brown, olive, to grayish-brown with three light saddle markings under the second dorsal fin that are almost devoid of spots. The head and interspaces between body bars are densely spotted and reticulated with darker brown. Belly pale. The fins match body color but darken to almost black distally. There is a broad white border on the caudal, pectoral, second dorsal, and anal fins.


Maximum size to 149mm SL.


Inshore benthic up to 73m depth.


Tobago and N. Venezuela to eastern Brazil.


Collette, B.B. 1966. A review of the venomous toadfishes, subfamily Thalassophryninae. Copeia 1966(4): 846-864.

Collette, B.B. 2002. Batrachoididae (pp 1026-1042). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

Other Notes

Thalassophryne punctata (Steindachner, 1876), described from off eastern Brazil, agrees with T. nattereri on all meristic data. It is said to lack white margins on the fins and has small round spots on the dorsum (Collette, 1966). As there are no recent records or illustrations of the species, and the picture on Fishbase has white fin margins like T. nattereri, I will keep T. punctata as a color form of the former until additional data becomes available. If anyone has any information on the species known as T. punctata, please contact me.