Animal Species:Thornback Cowfish, Lactoria fornasini (Bianconi, 1846)
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.
Standard Common Name
Spiny-backed Cow-fish, Thorny-back Cow-fish, Thorny-back Cowfish
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.
It grows to 20cm in length.
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.
Distribution by collection data
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- 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