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an order of bony fishes. The bones of the upper jaw are firmly joined together or fused. The teeth form a strong beak. The body, which varies greatly in shape, ranges in length from 4 cm (Triacanthadidae) to 2.5 m or more (ocean sunfish). The scales have been converted into spines or scutes. Some species, including the porcupinefish and the puffer, have a special abdominal outgrowth filled with water or air that inflates the entire body when attacked by a predator.
The order Tetraodontiformes has four suborders: Balistoidei, Ostraciontoidei, Tetrodontoidei, and Moloidei. There are 11 families, with about 100 species, distributed in all oceans in tropical and subtropical coastal and open waters; only a few species occur in fresh waters. The fishes feed on bottom invertebrates, specifically, reef-forming coral polyps, pelagic crustaceans, squid, and various fishes. Their diet occasionally includes algae. Many species of the family Balistidae and the suborder Tetrodon-toidei are toxic, because tetrodotoxin is present in the skin, peritoneum, liver, and gonads. However, the meat of these fishes is highly valued in many countries.
A. P. ANDRIIASHEV and A. V. NEELOV