Scuba Diving for Scrawled Cowfish

The Scrawled Cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis) is just one of many Cowfish divers going Key West scuba diving can find hidden among the colorful Caribbean reefs. Ranging in size from 8 to 15 inches, this docile fish swims slowly through the water, except when threatened. If disturbed by a potential predator while sitting in a grassbed, the Scrawled Cowfish might remain completely motionless, relying on camouflage for continued cover. The fish’s most distinctive physical characteristics are the two cow-like horns that sprout just above its eyes.

In Key West, the scrawled cowfish has a yellow body covered by iridescent blue lines. The fish is a shallow water species and lives in and around thick seagrass beds, where its body will lighten or darken depending on present conditions. Despite its slow moving manner, the fish can be difficult to spot on a Key West scuba diving trip, and can sometimes appear to be grayish brown in color. The scrawled cowfish is marked by numerous blackish-blue or bright blue spots and splotches. It feeds primarily on small invertebrates like tunicates and anemones, as well as slow-moving hermit crabs, the occasional piece of marine vegetation, and water sponges. People living in the Caribbean love the scrawled cowfish because it makes for excellent eating.