Sea Creature of the Week!

Sep 12 2011

Longhorned Cowfish

Scientific Name: Lactoria Cornuta

Family: Ostraciidae

Home: These little guys are native to the (sub) tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. They can be spotted hanging out in coral reefs up to 100 m under the ocean’s surface.

Physical Characteristic: This boxy sea creature gets its name from the two horns atop its head and the two below its tail. These horns are believed to have evolved in order to make the cowfish harder to swallow and therefore less attractive to predators. These festively plump sea friends come in green, light orange, or yellow with either white or blue spots. They grow to be about 18 inches in length.

Food: This fellow keeps his lovely boxlike figure by munching on algae, mollusks, small crustaceans, and small fish. The Big Eye Tuna and Albacore enjoy snacking on our little friend and are their biggest predators.

Fun Facts:

- When stressed the Longhorned Cowfish releases a harmful substance called ostracitoxin

- Our little ocean buddy is an extremely slow swimmer making him an easy target to catch. When caught he literally lets out a loud grunt.

- The cowfish’s horns break off quite often but fully grow back within a few months

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