Spotted trunkfish (Lactophrys bicaudalis) are one of only three recognized members of the Lactophrys genesis. The others are the buffalo trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus) and the smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter). All are native to the western Atlantic Ocean and are referred to as cowfish, or simply boxfish, depending on where they are encountered.
The spotted trunkfish is yellow, white or a combination of both with dark spots. Its snout and fins protrude from a triangular, trunk-like body, armored with heavy hexagonal scales. This armor and the colorless toxin secreted from its glands greatly deter predators. In fact, the toxin is so powerful, it can kill a large shark if ingested.
Due to the weight of its scales, this fish is most often observed moving in a slow hovering motion powered by the non-stop fluttering of its pectoral fins. However, it will use its tail fin to propel itself quite quickly if it feels threatened. We photographed this spotted trunkfish while writing our post Scuba Diving, Placencia, Belize.