Acanthostracion quadricornis Photo Claire Sunquist ©
The Scrawled Cowfish (or boxfish) may be one of the most comical fish you will see. The most obvious thing about this fish is its strange shape and the two horns over the eyes that look like cow horns. This species also has distinct blue scrawls on its body.
Their bodies are very stiff because their plate-like scales are fused together to form a solid boxy shell. This shell means that they can only move their fins, eyes and mouth. While they cannot move very fast , their armor usually protects them from predators. Cowfish, as with other boxfish, uncover their meals of crabs and shrimps by blowing jets of water into the sand with their mouths.
Scrawled Cowfish are mainly found in shallow waters and seagrass beds. These fish are commonly collected for aquariums as they are hardy and will eat well in captivity. Cowfish are usually seen in the shallows or on patchy reefs but hardly ever caught except in nets because of their small size and parrot-like beak.
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