Members of this order occur in marine, brackish, and freshwater of the tropics, subtropics, and temperate zones. The spikefishes are tropical and subtropical deepwater residents of the western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions. Triplespines occur in shallow marine and brackish waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Boxfishes, triggerfishes, filefishes, and leatherjackets are distributed widely, mainly in coastal waters of the tropical, subtropical, and temperate or warm temperate Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. The monotypic threetooth puffer is a deep-slope species of the Indo-Pacific region. Marine pufferfishes occur in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; numerous species enter brackish water or even freshwater. Some strictly freshwater species are found in river systems of Africa, Asia, or South America. Porcupinefishes occur in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters of the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions; at least one species is circumglobal in its distribution. Molas also are found in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans but are largely pelagic and venture inshore only occasionally.

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