Category: Bony Fish

Underwater Fact 157

The Longhorn Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta), also called the Horned Boxfish, is easily recognised by the two long horns on its head and it’s bright yellow body.

Longhorn Cowfish   © Aqua Marine Life

The eyes of the Longhorn Cowfish move independently from each other, so these animals are able to look in two different directions at the same time.

This slow-moving and generally peaceful species has poisonous skin and if threatened or stressed they can release a toxin into the water that may be lethal to other boxfish and various other organisms.

Boxfish Skeleton   © UC San Diego

Interestingly, the cowfish does not have an internal skeleton like other bony fish, but rather a rigid, hard carapace of fused scales from which the horns, fins, eyes, and lips protrude. This hard, shell-like body looks more like the exoskeleton of crustaceans and similarly functions as protection against predators.

Underwater Fact 155

During its lifespan, the beautifully coloured parrotfish is known to change its shape, colour and even gender.

Parrotfish sleeping   © Nikki van Veelen

Parrotfish are abundant in and around the tropical reefs of all the world’s oceans. There are about 80 identified species, ranging in size from less than 30 to 120 cm (1 to 4 ft) in length. All species vary in their colour and shape and each fish repeatedly changes throughout their lives, making it difficult for researchers to identify and classify the individuals.
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Underwater Fact 151

Spiny Gurnards feature large colourful fins and venomous spines that help searching for food.

Eastern Spiny GuarnardEastern Spiny Gurnard   © Klaus Stiefel

Gurnards, also called Sea Robins, are recognised by their beautiful large pectoral fins which they flap like wings, opening and closing them while swimming. This colourful display is mainly intended to distract predators.
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Underwater Fact 150

Lionfish are venomous, not poisonous – there is a difference.

Pterois640Lionfish   © Sophia Volzke

Although both venomous and poisonous animals produce a toxin that can be harmful to other organisms, the method of delivery is different. Venomous organisms use a specific apparatus like spines or teeth to inject their toxin. Poisonous organisms, on the other hand, require their victim to ingest or absorb the toxin.

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Underwater Fact 138

Larval Clownfish are able to smell their predators.

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Underwater Fact 134

Seahorses have a 90 percent success rate when attacking prey, which makes them one of the most successful predators in the ocean.

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Underwater Fact 131

Unlike most fishes, the Australian Lungfish has the unique ability to breathe air using a single lung.

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Underwater Fact 125

Razorfish (Aeoliscus strigatus) swim in a vertical position with their head down and their back facing the direction of travel. They are often found in schools that gather around coral branches and hide in the spines of sea urchins when disturbed.

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Underwater Fact 113

The New Zealand Longfin Eel utilises special tubes that channel water into its nose, which enables this species to have a greater sense of smell than Great White Sharks.

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Underwater Fact 105

Although it is common for male fish to play the dominant parenting role, male pregnancy is a complex process unique to the fish family Syngnathidae, which includes pipefish, seahorses and sea dragons.

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