Acanthostracion quadricornis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Tetraodontiformes Ostraciidae

Scientific Name: Acanthostracion quadricornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Scrawled Cowfish, Cowfish, Shellfish, Trunkfish
French Coffre Taureau
Spanish Botelia, Chapín, Cofre, Torito Azul, Torito Común, Torito Cornudo
Lactophrys quadricornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Ostracion quadricornis Linnaeus, 1758
Ostracion tricornis Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 October 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 1 October 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2011-06-07
Assessor(s): Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Shao, K.-T., Hardy, G., Zapfe, G., Liu, M., Jing, L., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Carpenter, K.E., Comeros-Raynal, M., Harwell, H. & Sanciango, J.
Acanthostracion quadricornis is widely distributed and fairly common where it occurs in shallow waters often over seagrass. There are no known major threats, therefore it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Acanthostracion quadricornis is distributed in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts south along the U.S., Bermuda, the Bahamas, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and along South America to southern Brazil including Trinidade Island (Simon et al. 2013). Records from South Africa and, especially, Australia require verification.
Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil (Trindade); Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); South Africa; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):80
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Acanthostracion quadricornis is common in museum records throughout its distribution. Mean annual catch per unit effort (CPUE) in the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) during the fall trawl surveys from 1987 to 2010 indicate an increasing trend, while trawl surveys conducted in the summer show no clear trend (NOAA unpub. data).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Acanthostracion quadricornis is found in shallow water down to about 80 m, mainly in seagrass beds. It occurs in the marine zone of the lagoon ecosystems along the coast of the Yucatan state in Mexico (M. Vega-Cendejas pers. comm. 2015). It feeds on sessile invertebrates such as tunicates, gorgonians and anemones, as well as on slow-moving crustaceans, sponges, hermit crabs and marine plants (Tyler 1978, Randall 1996).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Acanthostracion quadricornis is considered an excellent food fish that is marketed fresh (Tyler 1978). It is sold commercially in the aquarium trade (Global Marine Aquarium Database 2011), and is listed at a price between $29.99 ( 2011), and $39.95 ( 2011) per individual.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures.

Citation: Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Shao, K.-T., Hardy, G., Zapfe, G., Liu, M., Jing, L., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. 2015. Acanthostracion quadricornis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T193647A2253412. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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