Animal Species:Roundbelly Cowfish, Lactoria diaphana (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

As its common name suggests, the belly region of this species is rounded. It has a pair of short horns in front of the eyes.  The Roundbelly Cowfish occurs in tropical and some temperate waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.

A Roundbelly Cowfish at 'The Pipeline'

David and Leanne Atkinson © David and Leanne Atkinson

Standard Common Name

Roundbelly Cowfish

Alternative Name/s

The Roundbelly Cowfish has also been called the Diaphanous Box-fish, Diaphanous Cowfish, Thorny-back Cowfish, Translucent Boxfish and Transparent Boxfish.

Identification

The Roundbelly Cowfish has a pair of short horns in front of the eyes, a stout spine on the back, and a pair of spines near the anal fin. As its common name suggests, the belly region of the carapace is rounded.

The species is yellowish to brown with dusky spots and blotches. Juveniles can be recognised by the almost transparent lower portion of the head and body.

Size range

The Roundbelly Cowfish grows to 30 cm in length.

Distribution

It occurs in tropical and some temperate waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.

In Australia it is known from north-western Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country, and south to the southern coast of New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Lactoria diaphana

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Roundbelly Cowfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Classification

Species:
diaphana
Genus:
Lactoria
Family:
Ostraciidae
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Roundbelly Cowfish, Lactoria diaphana, Ostraciidae, yellow, white, brown, odd-shaped, 10 cm - 30 cm, dots/spots, blotches/mottled, marine, adult,