Spotted Trunkfish, Lactophrys bicaudalis

Spotted TrunkfishOn St. John, the spotted trunkfish is usually called shellfish and sometimes box fish or cow fish.

The spotted trunklfish has a hard outer shell, which along with the sharp spines that guard the rear fins protects it from predators. Adding to this it secretes a colorless toxin from glands on its skin when touched, which is only dangerous when eaten. The toxin is not dangerous to divers and snorkelers, but can poison predators even as large as nurse sharks.

The spotted trunkfish needs to eat eat both animals and plants to remain healthy, especially favoring, mollusks, small crustaceans, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea grasses and algae.

The spotted trunkfish is usually prepared by baking it within its own shell, usually on a charcoal fire.

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