Monday, October 10, 2011

Life of Longhorn Cowfish

Life of Sea | Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta) | The Longhorn cowfish is a variety of the boxfish, family Ostraciidae. It is recognizable by its long horns that protrude from the front of his head, like that of a cow or bull. Longhorn cowfish primary habitat is in the Indo-Pacific region's coral reefs in lagoons, on reef flats, protected seaward reefs and coastal areas, muddy or sandy habitats in still bays, and ports and estuaries. Adults are often solitary and territorial. Young people often associate in groups with Acropora corals, near river mouths, in shallow protected mudflats and brackish water out.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Actinopterygii
Order:     Tetraodontiformes
Family:     Ostraciidae
Genus:     Lactoria
Species:     L. cornuta

Longhorn cowfish be found in the Red Sea and East Africa eastward through Indonesia to Marquesas external and north to southern Japan including Tuamotus, South Korea, north of the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan, south of Australia and Lord Howe Island and from outside southern Africa into the Atlantic Ocean. There is no known sexual dimorphism, so that both male and female yellow to olive base color again, which is decorated with white or blue spots. Paired dating just before or after sunset. Eggs and larvae are pelagic.

Longhorn cowfish are  easily identified by their rather comical appearance and two pair of long horns, like those of a cow or bull, located on their heads and under their tail. Their horns are believed to have evolved because they fish hard to swallow for most predators. Their horns actually break down often, but they regrow within a few months. Longhorn cowfish are shy fish.  

Longhorn cowfish missing gill covers, but instead have a small gap or hole. Their scales are hexagonal and plate-like, which merged to form a solid, triangular, boxlike shield, showing their fins and tails sticking out. Their rounded dorsal fin is small. Longhorn cowfish are found in various colors like green, light orange, yellow, and they are known to sometimes wear white or blue spots on their bodies and the weak or hexagonal honeycomb pattern display.

Longhorn cowfish are poisonous flesh, another characteristic that makes them unattractive to predators. They also go outside if they ostracitoxin stressed by sudden movement, bright lights and loud sounds. Longhorn cowfish are known to be slow swimmers and are easily caught by hand so they often make a growling sound. Apparently this fish is sometimes aggressive and sometimes not. Keep an eye on newcomers with an established boxfish and any new added to the aquarium.

Longhorn cowfish are omnivores and consume benthic algae, various microorganisms, and foraminiferans outside that stems from sediments, sponges, worms, polychaete outside of sandbars by blowing jets of water into the sand, mollusks, small crustaceans and even small fish. Predators are larger fish such as albacore and bigeye. While scientists say that the Longhorn cowfish is bad for home aquariums, it is becoming increasingly popular as pets and Cowfish has become the most famous Cowfish species in the aquarium trade.

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