Tetraodontidae is a family of primarily marine and estuarine fish of the Tetraodontiformes order. The family includes many familiar species which are variously called pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, and sea squab. They are morphologically similar to the closely related porcupinefish, which have large external spines (unlike the thinner, hidden spines of Tetraodontidae, which are only visible when the fish has puffed up). The scientific name refers to the four large teeth, fused into an upper and lower plate, which are used for crushing the shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey.
Puffer fish are generally believed to be the second–most poisonous vertebrate in the world, after the Golden Poison Frog. Certain internal organs, such as liver, and sometimes their skin are highly toxic to most animals when eaten, but nevertheless the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan (as 河豚, pronounced as fugu), Korea (as bok), and China (as 河豚 he2 tun2) when prepared by chefs who know which part is safe to eat and in what quantity.
The tetraodontidae contains at least 121 species of puffers in 20 genera. They are most diverse in the tropics and relatively uncommon in the temperate zone and completely absent from cold waters. They are typically small to medium in size, although a few species can reach lengths of greater than 100 centimetres (39 in).
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