Also known as blowfish, these creatures are so named for their ability to inflate themselves to several times their normal size by swallowing water or air when threatened.
Although the eyes and internal organs of most puffer fish are highly toxic, the meat is considered a delicacy in Japan and Korea. Still, nearly 60 percent of humans who ingest this fish die from tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin that damages or destroys nerve tissue. Humans need only ingest a few milligrams of this toxin for a fatal reaction to occur.
Most puffer fish poisoning is the result of accidental consumption of other foods that are tainted with the puffer fish toxin rather than from the ingestion of puffer fish itself. Symptoms include rapid numbness and tingling of lips and mouth, which are generally resolved within hours to days if treated promptly.