Item of the Month: July 2017


Spotted trunkfish. Lactophrys bicaudalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
TUZ 700143
Length: 26 cm

The first spotted trunkfish arrived in Tartu already in 1806, when approximately one hundred specimens caught during the circumnavigation expedition of Admiral Adam Friedrich von Krusenstern were donated to the museum. This specimen, too, is very old – it was received in 1813, as indicated on the museum label glued into the fish's belly.

The spotted trunkfish inhabits the clear warm waters around coral reefs in sea bays. It primarily feeds on benthic fauna, such as molluscs, crustaceans, starfish, sea urchins, and also on algae. Its body is enclosed in a bony carapace and it characteristically appears triangular in cross-section. Its skin is yellow, covered with black spots. When excited, the spotted trunkfish may secrete toxins which can be deadly to other fishes.

The project is curated by Inge Kukk
The project is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia