Familia Tetraodontidae

(including Canthigasteridae)

by E. Tortonese

Body somewhat compressed, inflatable. Beak with median suture in both jaws. Scales absent. Skin usually more or less covered by small spines and sometimes also by bony plates in some zones. Fins without spiny rays; dorsal fin single, placed behind midpoint and opposite the similar anal fin. Caudal fin of variable shape. Pelvics absent. In littoral zone of all tropical seas, often on coral reefs; a few in freshwater. Solitary, poor swimmers. Can swell up as a defence mechanism by swallowing air or water. Oviparous. Highly esteemed foodfish in, for example, Japan, but dangerous because of presence of strong poison in liver, etc. (tetraodotoxin).

Genera about 12; in Clofnam area 4.

Recent revision: Fraser-Brunner (1943).