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Aracana ornata

Aracana ornata, the ornate cowfish, is a species of boxfish native to the Eastern Indian Ocean. First described by John Edward Gray in 1838,[1] the species has a maximum length of 15cm. They can be differentiated from their close cousins the striped cowfish by the upright look of the spines near their eyes,[2] and their slightly smaller length.[3] Their body is encased in a rigid box-like carapace composed of large sculptured bony plates; bony ridges with large recurved spines; dorsal and anal fins opposite and far back on the body; bony plates on tail base absent or rudimentary.[4]

Ornate cowfish are sexually dimorphic; males have yellow or blue lines and spots, while females are plain with orange-brown stripes.[2] These fish are rarely kept as pets by aquarium hobbyists, as stress can cause them to release ostracitoxin from their skin, easily killing other fish in a tank.


  1. ^ Aracana ornata, FishBase 
  2. ^ a b Ornate Cowfish, Aracana ornata (Gray, 1838), Australian Museum 
  3. ^ Aracana ornata, Encyclopedia of Life 
  4. ^ Dianne J. Bray (2011), Ornate Cowfish, Aracana ornata 


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