; subclass Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes)
A large family of mostly marine fish that have a rotund, scaleless body, the small dorsal fin placed well back on the body opposite the small anal fin, and a rounded tail fin. The mouth is small, but the teeth in each jaw are fused into a solid beak, with a median division in front. They can swallow a large quantity of water, thereby inflating the body, presumably in order to discourage a predator. Some species are quite large and relished as food by inhabitants of many Pacific islands, despite the fact that the entrails and gonads are highly poisonous to man (see tetrodotoxin). Pufferfish are also appreciated in Japan, where specially trained cooks prepare them for human consumption. There are at least 130 species, distributed world-wide.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.