The ocean is full of creatures that attract and amaze us either by their beauty or by their strange appearance, the latter being the case of the Longhorn Cowfish (also called Trunkfish).
The horned fish, whose scientific name is Lactoria Cornuta, is a rare animal belonging to the family Ostraciidae and to the class of Actinoptertgii.
Longhorn Cowfish special Characteristics
The Longhorn Cowfish (formerly known as bull fish) has a very unique morphology: its cubic, or square, body has two protrusions that stick out from its forehead. As you can imagine, this is where it gets its distinctive name.
The horns are more visible in adulthood than in youth. Sometimes they lose their distinctive horns, but they have the ability to regain them.
This rare fish has dorsal, anal and pectoral fins. The latter are so far behind that some believe it is a flaw in nature.
The Longhorn Cowfish can measure up to 50 centimeters in the wild, while in captivity it does not exceed 30 centimeters in length.
Another peculiar characteristic of this strange aquatic animal is its yellow-green color. Although this coloration is not always so, since there are also brown or gray specimens.
Mixed with its main coloration presents some iridescent points that can be white, brown, green and blue.
It is very difficult to distinguish males from females because both sexes are practically the same in appearance.
Unlike most fish, this one is not an exceptionally fast swimmer. In addition, its physical constitution allows it to lead a quiet life without hustle and bustle.
As a defense mechanism or when it feels stressed, the Lactoria Cornuta tends to secrete a slimy substance that turns out to be a poisonous toxin to other fish and even to specimens of its own species.
Their Natural and Captive habitat
The horned chest fish is usually found in the reefs of the Red Sea, East Africa, Indonesia and Japan, where it is protected amidst the flora.
It can be seen in relatively shallow waters that can vary from 4 to 50 meters in depth. Although some specimens have been seen going down to 100 meters deep.
To be able to have a Golden Longhorn Cowfish in captivity, its habitat must be recreated as much as possible, that is why ponds, fish tanks or aquariums must have a minimum capacity of 300 liters of water whose pH is 8.1 to 8.4 and whose temperature oscillates between 24 and 27 degrees centigrade.
It is equally important that the fish tank or aquarium has a moderate current because, as already mentioned, this rare fish is not a good swimmer.
Although this animal can live with other species, they need to be of a calm character. However, because the male is very territorial it is advisable to have them in a unique space.
Long horned cowfish Diet
The horned goldfish is omnivorous, which means that its diet is very varied. It eats legumes, seaweed, fish in pieces, sucks up the remains of sea sponges and other marine invertebrates.
An impressive skill that this unique fish has, is to throw a jet of water with enough power to remove the sand from the seabed and discover the small molluscs and crustaceans that are hidden there.
When in captivity their diet tends to vary a little, but in general they are prepared to eat frozen food, whether it is of animal or vegetable origin.
Mating and Reproduction of this Strange Fish
When it comes to specimens that are in captivity, reproduction is practically non-existent. In fact, only a few acuriophiles have achieved this “feat”, and it must be said that they have been among the most experienced in the field.
But when they are in the wild the reality is different, although many details about this process are not yet known.
The Long horned cowfish always spawns after or during sunset. The eggs develop in the depths of the sea.
From their larval stage until their young, they are kept in small groups, providing mutual protection.
Although it is true that in time they will be territorial, at this stage they are more sociable with each other and this gives them their peaceful and calm temperament.
Do they have Predators?
It is believed that the fish’s horns are an advantage over predators: they are harder to swallow and perhaps for this reason it is not known for sure which are its predators.
What is known is that because they swim slowly they are very easy to catch by humans who take them out of their natural habitat and into aquariums where, although they will receive the necessary care, they are more likely to die.