I was swimming one day when I realized I was being watched. Peeking up from a crevasse in the reef, was this giant porcupinefish. These fish do seem to be quite curious and this is a look I’ve seen before. The difference here was that the water was quite shallow, so the fish was not as deep as they usually are. If I got too close, the fish would dip deeper into the crevasse. If I moved away, it would pop up again.
Porcupinefish are not to be messed with. They have strong beaks (fused teeth), which they use to break mollusc and crustacean shells, and which have been known to sever fingers, too. In addition, like pufferfish, they can inflate themselves with water into a large, round ball when threatened. Unlike pufferfish, porcupinefish have sharp spines which normally lie flat, but which become erect when inflated. Finally, they’re extremely poisonous.
The other fish, in the second photo, are a goldring surgeonfish and, above it, a small blackfin chromis.