According to National Geographic, puffer fish live in sub-tropical and tropical waters. In Asia, they are commonly found around Japan, China, Taiwan and the Philippines, while in the Caribbean, they are found in the West Indies and Mexico.
There are more than 120 species of puffer fish, ranging in size from one inch to 2 feet long. They feed mostly on algae, invertebrates and shellfish. Although this type of fish is scaleless, it has spikes that poke out when it expands or puffs up. This ability to expand makes it difficult for predators to eat them. Puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin and are toxic to most other fish and humans. Despite this, puffer fish are a delicacy in many parts of the world, especially in Japan where the meat is called fugu. In order to bypass this toxicity, the fish have to be prepared in a special way. This can only be done by certified trained chefs. Despite this, a couple hundred people die each year from the toxin, for which there is no cure. This toxin is now extracted and used in modern medicine. It acts as a painkiller for those suffering from neuralgia, arthritis and certain types of cancer, and can be used as part of a treatment for heroin addicts.