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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Garden Eels Habitat (Tropical Diver)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs primarily in the Indo-Pacific region including subtropical waters of the Red Sea and East Africa through Indonesia, northward to southern Japan and Korea, and southward to Australia and Southern Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Found mainly in sand or rubble on the bottoms of coral reef lagoons, flats and protected areas from 3 feet (0.9 m) to 164 feet (50 m).

Physical Characteristics

  • A type of boxfish, recognizable by its two pairs of long horns protruding from the front of the head, such as with a cow or bull, and also beneath the tail.
  • Male and female display a yellow to olive base color decorated with white or bluish spots.
  • Lacks an operculum, or gill cover, and has a small slit or hole instead.
  • Can grow up to 18 inches (46 cm) in length.

Diet / Feeding

  • Omnivorous and feeds on bottom layer algae, various microorganisms and marine protozoans.
  • Blows jets of water into sandy substrate to feed on invertebrates.

Conservation Status

  • "Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • A reef fish, often solitary and territorial (but can be found in pairs while mating).
  • Employs a unique method of swimming called ostraciiform locomotion – in which on the caudal fin moves from side to side – that causes the longhorn cowfish to look as though it is hovering.
  • With no pelvic skeleton, this species lacks pelvic fins.
  • Also known as “long-horns,” “horned boxfish” and “trunkfish.”
  • Horns as are thought to have evolved to make this cowfish hard for most predators to swallow.
  • Flesh is poisonous.