A member of the boxfish family, the Honeycomb Cowfish (Acanthostracion polygonia) is one of the cutest fish there is to be seen on the reefs of the Caribbean. This is especially the case for juveniles who are so tiny and round that they have been playfully nick-named the ‘pea fish’. Like other members of the boxfish family, the Honeycomb Cowfish has big fat lips which it uses to delicately pluck its favourite food items from the surrounding reef habitat. Instead of the classic fish scales, it has a covering of hexagonal plates which essentially form a tough exoskeleton that afford it some protection from predators. Despite this it is a wary fish, and quickly swims off and hides if any nearby threats are detected. Another defence that it has is amazing camouflage by way of an elaborate colour changing ability, and can darken or lighten dramatically to blend in with its background. Sometimes, when seemingly uncertain of which colour it would like to be, it shimmers and sparkles as if covered with tiny jewels. Differentiating the Honeycomb Cowfish from other boxfish, and the reason for its common name, are two horns that is possesses, one above each eye, giving it a bull-like appearance. It doesn’t use these for defence however, aside from making them look somewhat unpalatable to potential predators. You wouldn’t want to get that stuck in your throat!
About Reef Creature Clothing
We specialise in not only coral reef inspired athleisure wear, but also beach & swim wear, and other printed products. All our colourful and vibrant designs are made using digitally enhanced prints of real underwater photographs taken in the Caribbean. We donate all of our profits after costs to The Coral Reef Research Hub, a small non-profit organisation that seeks to help fund research projects undertaken by early career coral reef scientists. The projects funded are those that aim to contribute information that will hopefully lead to legislative change, and thus help to protect coral reefs and their associated resources for generations to come!
We write these regular ‘creature features’ to help you learn more about the fascinating inhabitants of the coral reefs where our images came from. More will continue to be posted over the coming months so watch this space!