Today we will be talking about two horned marine species that are quite peculiar and inhabit the immensities of the world’s oceans. Stay with us and find out which they are.
These two curious marine animals are far from being similar in something, even though one of their characteristics today share these lines. Their horns, although in size are far from having any resemblance, make them one of the few Horned Sea Species and therefore, will be the protagonists of this article.
Nature is wise and doesn´t do things by simple caprice, so today we will know more closely the impressive Narwhal Whale and the little Cowfish (Lactoria cornuta.)
Hornerd Marine Species: Cowfish (Lactoria Cornuta)
The cow fish is a variety of boxfish (Ostraciidae) which is easily recognizable by the long horns that protrude in front of its head, similar to those of a cow or a bull. These fish are about 10 cm long, although some specimens can reach up to 51 centimeters in length. Cow fish are omnivores and feed on benthic algae, some microorganisms, and mollusks, crustaceans and small fish
This type of Horned marine species inhabits coral reefs in lagoons, on reef flats offshore, at depths ranging from 1-45 m, even 100 m but rarely. Its main distribution area is the Indo-Pacific region: from the Red Sea and East Africa to the east through Indonesia to the Marquesas; North to South Japan.
They can also be found in the Atlantic Ocean, between Central America and South America. They exhibit a range of colors ranging from yellow to olive green with white or blue dots. A feature that distinguishes cowfish from other fish species is the lack of a gill cover, since they have a small slit or hole. Their unique swimming method, called ostraciform swimming, makes them look as if they were floating. The long horn cowfish (Longhorn) does not have a pelvic skeleton, so it lacks pelvic fins.
They are slow swimmers that are easily captured by hand, making a grunt when captured. This is the best known cowfish species in the aquarium trade.
Horned Marine Species: Narwhal Whale
The narwhal whale is a type of medium-sized toothed whale, if we compare it with other whales. The adult males weigh up to 3,500 pounds and the females, smaller, 2,200 pounds. They are black and white when young, and as they mature they will be completely white in color.
The narwhal whale is mainly distributed around the arctic zones. They reside around Canada and Russia. The most recent count is approximately 75,000 individuals. They are social mammals, and they gather in large groups, usually 10 to 15 narwhal whales in a clan. When there are several males in the group you can see them rubbing their fangs together, it is believed that this ritual allows them to determine the hierarchy of each one within the clan.
Although the narwhal whale migrates seasonally due to the specific foods they consume, these whales are more selective about what they consume than many other whale species.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the males of these whales is the «horn» (tusk) that protrudes from their heads. The tusk is a canine tooth that can grow up to nine feet long from the head of adult males. It contains thousands of nerve endings that allow the narwhal to perceive even the slightest movement around him.
Scientists have long speculated about the reason for its existence, from its use as a punch or ice weapon to sexual selection and even echolocation. One of those theories has finally been confirmed. During footage by two drones on Tremblay Sound, Nunavat, in northeastern Canada, they found that they use their horn to stun the Arctic cod by ramming them with that part of their anatomy. This behavior briefly immobilizes the fish, making them easy prey. We invite you to read our article types of whales, to learn more about these marine species
Here they are