Species encyclopedia

Longhorn Cowfish

Lactoria cornuta


The body of boxfish is formed of joined bony plates that give them their characteristic box-like shape. This species also has two horns at the front of its head, which is how it got its name.

Longhorn cowfish prefer to live in shallow coral lagoons, sea grass or even in estuaries. The young, which travel in shoals, are particularly fond of the brackish water at the mouths of rivers.

They feed on small invertebrates that they dislodge by blowing on the sand. During the mating season, they form harems of one male and several females. They then begin a wedding dance, rising close to the water’s surface to release their reproductive cells.

In addition to their bony armour, longhorn cowfish can also secrete a mucus in times of stress that contains a toxic substance, ostracitoxin, to dissuade their predators.

Indo-Pacific area


Species encyclopedia

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