puffer

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puffer

or

pufferfish,

common name for some tropical marine fish of the family Tetraodontidae. The puffers and their allies, including the boxfish, the porcupinefish, the triggerfishtriggerfish,
any of several species of tropical reef fishes with laterally compressed bodies, heavy scales, and tough skins. They are named for the mechanism of the three spines of the dorsal fin: when the fish is alarmed the first of these spines is locked upright by the second
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, and the ocean sunfish or headfish, form an odd group (order Tetraodontiformes). The puffers, or blowfishes or swellfishes, named for their ability to inflate their bodies to three times normal size, are found all along the Atlantic coast, e.g., the northern puffer (Sphoeroides maculatus), and in the Pacific. Their prickly skin is exaggerated into stout spines in the porcupinefish (family Diodontidae) and the related spiny boxfish, or burrfish, which are also able to inflate themselves. Like the puffers, they feed on marine invertebrates.

The ocean sunfish, or headfish (family Molidae), occurs widely in all seas, although it prefers warmer waters. Its appearance is that of a huge head with fins attached, as its body does not taper. It moves clumsily and is usually seen basking in the sun. The ocean sunfish is one of the largest of all fishes, the record weight being about one ton (900 kg). It is harpooned for sport; except for the oil from its liver, it is of little value as food.

Puffers and their allies are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes.

puffer

[′pəf·ər]
(mining engineering)
A small stationary engine used in coal mines for hoisting material.