The porcupine is one of the oddest looking fish in the ocean.
It's large, forward-looking eyes and circular mouth resemble a human from a face-on angle. Even the snout could be seen as nose-like.
To encounter one of these fish close up is a fascinating experience. They swim with an open mouth that gives them a slightly startled look.
This porcupine fish was found at night in shallow waters off Tonga. Its colourful markings and vivid stripes caught this scuba diver's attention as he drifted along over the coral in the darkness.
Suddenly inflates its body with air or water
As beautiful as it is, almost all ocean creatures possess a means to defend themselves and inflict harm, if needed. The spines on this porcupine fish can be seen laid out flat against its skin, but if required, they can protrude outwards if the fish suddenly inflates its body with air or water. This makes it impossible for all but the biggest predators to swallow it.
The spines, skin, and even the internal organs all have a powerful venom as well, potent enough to kill as many as 30 men. Consumption of this fish, or even trying, would mean certain death for most creatures.
Although gentle enough if they are not provoked, this scuba diver knows to give the fish its space. His approach was slow and careful and he avoided cornering it against the reef.