In this episode of visual meditation, we’d like to introduce you to the Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta). This curious-looking creature has two spine-like horns growing from the front of its head, and two more from the back of its body. These make it harder for any would-be predator to swallow them. Their body has plate-like scales that are fused together to form a solid box-like carapace and the fins, tail, eyes, and mouth protrude from this.
Meet the Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta)
Due to their armour, these fish are slow-moving and rely on their pectoral fins for propulsion. Cowfish are closely related to Pufferfish, and although they don’t have the ability to puff themselves up, they do have a symbiotic relationship with types of toxic bacteria similar to the Pufferfish. These bacteria produce ostracitoxin which is a powerful neurotoxin. The ostracitoxins are found in their skin and internal organs.
Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta): A defence to kill
In addition to being poisonous, they have the ability to secrete the ostracitoxins into the water when stressed. This acts as a chemical defence when they are attacked by predators. To the dismay of many an aquarist who thought this funny-looking creature would be a great addition to their tank, when stressed the Longhorn Cowfish is capable of killing every fish in an aquarium, including itself. An unfortunate case of murder-suicide, that once again shows us that creatures should not be imprisoned for our own entertainment.
There is more to discover
For more visual meditation, watch the whole playlist on our YouTube channel or browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute“ on this website.