The ocean sunfish, or headfish, and its relatives (genus Mola, family Molidae), occur widely in all seas, though the southern sunfish, or bump-head sunfish, is found only in the Southern Hemisphere. Their appearance is that of a huge silvery to gray head with fins attached, as the body does not taper. Sunfish move clumsily and are usually seen basking in the sun. The sunfish are among the largest of all fishes; the southern sunfish can exceed 5,000 lb (2,300 kg). Considered threatened, sunfish are used for food in some East Asian countries.
Puffers and their allies are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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