Thornback Cowfish, Lactoria fornasini Click to enlarge image
A Thornback Cowfish trawled during the NORFANZ expedition from near Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, May 2003. Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© NORFANZ Founding Parties

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    fornasini
    Genus
    Lactoria
    Family
    Ostraciidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 20cm in length.

Introduction

The Thornback Cowfish has a pair of large spines projecting forward in front of the eyes. The species occurs in tropical, and some temperate marine waters of the Indo-Pacific.



Identification

The Thornback Cowfish is covered with hard bony armour. There is a pair of large spines projecting forward in front of the eyes. Another pair of spines projects posteriorly below the caudal fin from the rear of the ventro-lateral ridges. A single spine is positioned dorsally.

The species is green to brown with blue spots and dashes.



Distribution

The Thornback Cowfish occurs in tropical, and some temperate marine waters of the Indo-Pacific.

In Australia it is known from southern to north-western Western Australia and from the northern coast of Queensland 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.



References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.