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a family of marine fishes of the order Tetrodontiformes. The head and body are covered with a carapace of immobile fused bony plates. Only the fins are movable, on short fleshy bases; ventral fins are absent. The tail is long, and the mouth, which is located on the lower side of the head, is small. The carapace, as a rule, has several keels, or ridges, and strong immobile spines. The body measures up to 30 cm long. Most species are brightly colored.
There are three genera, Aracana, Ostracion, and Lactophrys, which are widely distributed on the continental shelf zone of all tropical seas. The majority of species are found along the shores of Australia and the Malay Archipelago. The fishes have poor mobility; they feed on benthic invertebrates, frequently crushing those with hard shells with their powerful jaws. They lay their eggs on the bottom. Ostraciidae have no commercial importance.