Some of our Favorite Facts about Pufferfish
- Fugu (pufferfish) is a fish which contains deadly poison in its organs.
Despite the risk of poisoning, fugu dishes are special feasts in Japan. Even the
milt is considered a great delicacy.
- It's said that the most poisonous fugu,
"Tora-fugu", is the most delicious.
- Mitsugora Bando VIII, a famous Kabuki actor and Japanese national treasure, died from eating fugu in 1975.
- The kanji (Chinese characters) used to write fugu indicates "river pig."
- Fugu is also consumed as an aphrodisiac, made by mixing a teaspoonful of its testes with hot sake.
- A puffer fish's toxin is 1250 times deadlier than cyanide.
- One Japanese cook describes death by fugu poisoning as follows: "It's a terrible death. Although you can think clearly, you cannot speak or move and soon cannot breathe."
- In western Japan, fugu is called "fuku", which means "to blow" or "happiness".
- Ancient Egyptians used one species of puffer fish as a ball in an primitive game of bowls.
- Pufferfish have smaller sized genomes compared to other vertebrates. As a result their genomes can be used as "mini" models for vertebrates.
- The puffer fish genomes have a higher proportion of genes and a lower proportion of "junk DNA" than most other vertebrates.