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longhorn cowfish

  Tropical reef fish

Longhorn cowfish

longhorn cowfish

Identity card

longhorn cowfish

Scientific name:
Lactoria cornuta
Year of description:
Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN Status:
Not Evaluated

From the southern Red Sea to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, French Polynesia (Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelagos


It lives on the sandy and detrital bottoms of shallow sheltered lagoons.


It measures 46 cm on average. This species is oviparous.


Its diet consists of small invertebrates that live on the bottom, algae and sponges. To feed, it blows on the sand to di

longhorn cowfish

In coral ecosystems, the bright colours of animals are a signal that they are toxic


Where is the animal to be found?

It lives on the sandy and detrital bottoms of shallow sheltered lagoons, in coral reefs and seaweed meadows down to a depth of 50 metres. Juveniles prefer brackish water areas such as the mouths of rivers and lagoons. 

How can it be recognised?

Its body is enclosed in a carapace made of bony plates. It is covered by its bright yellow skin that secretes a toxic substance. This protects it from predators. The toxins of this family of fish are studied in medical research.
Furthermore, it has a pair of horns on its head that point forwards, and an identical pair under its tail fin that point backwards. It measures 46 cm on average. 

What is distinctive about it?

The longhorn cowfish is oviparous. They live in harems for breeding and lay eggs in the open water at dusk.

longhorn cowfish

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?


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