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'
Photographer: David and Leanne Atkinson © David and Leanne Atkinson
Standard Common Name
The Roundbelly Cowfish has also been called the Diaphanous Box-fish, Diaphanous Cowfish, Thorny-back Cowfish, Translucent Boxfish and Transparent Boxfish.
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.
The Roundbelly Cowfish grows to 30 cm in length.
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.
Distribution by collection data
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- 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