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Among the scaled marine creatures, fish were the first vertebrates to develop bones. Fish are further classified into 34,000 various species which inhabit the water. Surprisingly, fish have adapted and developed several senses like transmitting sound through water, dispersing chemicals, and conducting electricity. Also, fish are known to rely upon their sense of hearing, taste, and smell rather than their vision. A thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is a tropical fish found across the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to South Austral Islands around the depth length ranging between 10-426.5 ft (3-130 m) near the corals, reefs, and sandy beds.
The binomial name, Lactoria fornasini, coined by an Italian zoologist, Giovanni Giuseppe Bianconi, is known to have several synonymous names like Lactoria fuscomaculata, Lactoria galeodon, Lactoria pentacanthus, Ostracion fornasini, and Ostracion pentacanthus. Also, the tropical fish, thornback cowfish (Lactoria fornasini), has various vernacular names including thorny-back cowfish, thornback boxfish, spinybacked cowfish, blue-spotted cowfish, thornback cow, backspine cowfish, and many more. This tropical fish from the Indo-Pacific has an omnivorous diet, primarily feeding on invertebrates, krill, shrimps, clam, mussels, and marine algae. The boxfish, as the name reflects, has a boxy-shaped body with two spines like horns and protruding lips.
A thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is a species of boxfish endemic to the tropical and temperate waters around the Indo-Pacific region. It is often found in the reef and coral sea around a depth range of 10-426.5 ft (3-130 m). The specific epithet in the binomial name of the species coined by Bianconi honors an Italian naturalist working in Mozambique, Carlo Antonio Fornasini. It has several synonymous names for the binomial name like Lactoria fuscomaculata, Lactoria galeodon, Lactoria pentacanthus, Ostracion fornasini, and Ostracion pentacanthus. Also, it has various vernacular names including thorny-back cowfish, thornback boxfish, spinybacked cowfish, blue-spotted cowfish, thornback cow, and backspine cowfish.
The thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, belongs to the class Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes, family Ostraciidae, and genus Lactoria.
Neither the conservation status of the thornback cowfish is recorded nor the population of species is computed. Although it is speculated to have a healthy population around the Indo-Pacific water, concerning threats to its life highlight predators, humans, and habitat loss, primarily caused due to reef destruction which makes it one of the uncommon species.
The thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is found to live near the reef-bed, sandy bottom, or corals of the temperate-tropical water bodies from East Africa to South Austral Islands in Indo-Pacific waters. Also, the range of the species extends between southeastern Africa to Japan, Australia, Hawaii, Indonesia, and islands such as Madagascar and Little Rapa.
The thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is a coastal sea-fish that lives near the reef-bed, sandy bottom, or weedy area of tropical and temperate waters. It is often found at depths of 10-426.5 ft (3-130 m).
While species of fish like herrings live in schools or shoals, a thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is known to lead a solitary life. Often during the breeding season, the species from the family Ostraciidae are found in pairs. Also, males are reported to be territorial around their breeding season.
The life span of the thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, remains unrecorded, while a bigmouth buffalo fish is known as the longest living freshwater fish with a lifespan ranging up to 112 years.
Although the reproductive behavior of the thornback cowfish is poorly studied, it is an oviparous species laying eggs. Also, its breeding season is not recorded, while it is speculated that males become territorial during the mating season.
The conservation status of the thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, is Not Evaluated under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The thornback cowfish has a boxy-shaped body with a rounded belly, considerably large eyes, a uniquely fan-shaped tail, and protruding lips. It has a yellow-brown tanned pelage, often recorded orange and red in color with hexagonal patterns highlighted by blue or purple patterns. Also, it has two horn-like spines, one on its head and the other near the anal fin.
It is among the most adorable species found in marine habitats. With an unusual boxy shape and a bright-colored body, the boxfish never fails to catch your attention. The blue and purple markings forming a series of hexagons on a yellow, orange, or brown pelage are quite sure to engage you in studying the patterns on the scaly body.
The communication mechanism of the thornback fish is poorly studied, while fish, in general, are known to communicate using various gestures and motions.
The length of the thornback cowfish ranges between 6-9 in (15-23 cm), making it two times smaller than an Atlantic moonfish.
There is no record of the exact speed at which the thornback cowfish can swim.
The weight of the thornback cowfish is not recorded so far.
The male and female of the species do not have sex-specific names.
A baby thornback cowfish is often called a fry.
A thornback cowfish or thornback cow is a poisonous fish according to the research. Though it does not possess any danger until threatened, the toxin released by the fish can be quite harmful or dangerous.
The thornback cowfish is known to release toxins and make sudden movements and loud noises. Thus, it can be challenging for them to be kept in captivity.
The thornback cowfish was first named and documented in 1846 by Italian naturalist, Giovanni Giuseppe Bianconi.
Thornback cowfish or thornback cow is a freshwater boxfish found in the Indo-Pacific waters at a depth between 10-426.5 ft (3-130 m). Also, it is a poisonous species known to secrete toxins into the water.
The thornback cowfish is an oviparous species, but the litter size of the fish is unknown.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our round goby facts and bonito fish facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable intricate fish coloring pages.
Main image by Bernard DuPont.
Second image by Rickard Zerpe.
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