| Ecological Descriptors
||Spo, Tun, Cru
Somewhat triangular body with a bony box of armour, formed by thickened, joined, enlarged scale plates that are usually hexagonal in shape; carapace has openinas for mouth, eyes, gill slits and fins and tail. Vary from shades of blue to green to yellow. Reticulated or scrawled design on the head. Mouth small and protrusible, . Two "horns" on front of head between eyes and pointing forwards. Bold pattern of hexagons outlined by narrow dark lines, centers and areas between hexagons pale. No pelvic fins and tail base lig and very narrow. Have neither an operculum (gill cover), nor pelvic fins.
Juvenile: Yellow/ orange with black spots.
Occurs in clear water around coral reefs and boulders,usually down to 30m (100ft), but occasionally down to 100m (300ft). It can survive in temperatures about 22-27°CFeeds on sponges, alcyonarians, tunicates, and shrimps. Will often blow sand away with water jets from their mouths to expose food items. Mostly seen alone (solitary), or in small groups of threes comprising one male and two females.
One distinction of trunkfishes (aka Boxfishes) fishes compared to most other fish is the lack of an operculum ( gill cover/ plate), which is replaced by a small slit or hole. The hexagonal plate-like scales of these fish are fused together into a solid, triangular, box-like carapace, from which the fins and tail protrude. They have no pelvic skeleton, so they lack pelvic fins.
They employ specialized ostraciform swimming because they have limited body motion due to their box-like shape, causing them to look as if they are hovering. Young honeycomb cowfish are less awkward swimmers than the adult due to their more rounded and less rigid bodies.
Two females and one male honeycomb cowfish tend to be spotted together. They are open water mating fish, with a male and a female quickly swim to the surface of the water where they release their gametes into the water then quickly swim back down.
(C) Linda Ianniello