C is for Cowfish

The cowfish also goes by the names trunk fish and boxfish. These irregularly shaped fish are constructed of exterior fused plates rather than a skeleton. Caribbean varieties have a triangular appearance. Cowfish have "horns," a spine over each eye that further defines them from trunkfish: Coloration and body patterns are very unique and varied amoll@ the species. Their movement is called ostraciform swimming since they have no pelvic fins when swimming they look as if they are hovering. Cowfish and trunkfish have fewer teeth than most other fish and large jawbones for their size; they are generally 7-17 inches in length. They are quite unique in that they have gill slits without gill covers, they can blow water jets into the sand when searching for prey, they can secrete a toxic substance when threatened and they can move each eye in different directions at the same time.

Cow fish and trunkfish live on reefs and in sea grass beds and sandy areas. Some change colors to blend with their background. They may swim in open water or reside near ledges and holes-

These uniquely shaped fish normally eat invertebrates such as sea anemones or sponges and also dine on hermit crabs, algae, worms and small bivalves. They can uncover burrowing prey with their jets of water.

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