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(puffers), a family of fish of the order Plectognathi (or Tetraodontiformes). The fused jaw bones form plates that resemble four teeth. The skin is covered with spines or is naked. The pelvic fins are absent, and the pectoral fins are well developed, allowing the Tetraodontidae to move backward as well as forward. The stomach has saclike outgrowths that, when filled with air or water, make the fish resemble prickly balls.
The family comprises 19 genera, with more than 90 species. The Tetraodontidae are distributed in subtropical and tropical seas. There are four freshwater genera, including the most common genus Tetraodon. The meat of the Tetraodontidae is very tasty and is highly prized in the countries of the Far East. The skin, peritoneum, liver, and gonads are poisonous.