I have now been on Abaco for a couple weeks and in my time spent in the mangroves; I have become interested in the Checkered Puffer fish (Sphoeroides testudineus). So far, I have seen the Checkered Puffer in the Marls and in Sponge Creek on Abaco, but their natural range spans from tropical to temperate waters with sightings as far North as Rhode Island and as far south as the coasts of Brazil.
Little information is currently known about the reproduction and abundance of these puffer fish, however, we do know that the largest size of a Checkered Puffer reported has been 30 cm. Looking at these fish you may not realize that they are incredible predators. The Checkered Puffer fish has four tooth plates, two on top and bottom, which allows the fish to crack through shells and eat mollusks, crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves, certain crab species, and even seagrass, barnacles, and isopods. Yesterday in Sponge Creek, I heard and saw a Checkered Puffer fish jump out of the water, presumably going after a mangrove periwinkle snail found on the prop roots of red mangroves. This is not a novel behavior for these fish (See here) but little research has been conducted on their feeding behaviors.
For more information about Checkered Puffer fish see here