Meet Jethro the cowfish who spits when he’s hungry

A bizarre cowfish, which resembles an armour-plated box and spits water when it’s hungry, has gone on display at Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium.

The exotic species is also known by a bewildering number of different common names including the humpack turretfish, the helmet boxfish and the camel cowfish.

It is found from East Africa to Indonesia, north to Japan, and south to Australia. There is also a resident population in the Red Sea, which is now believed to be spreading to the Mediterranean, via the Suez Canal.

The hovercraft cowfish is usually found in deep offshore waters over coastal slopes and sheltered muddy and sandy substrates.

The Aquarium’s Leanna Lawson said: “It may be only small compared to some of the other boxfish species we have but it’s got to be one of the strangest looking. It’s also potentially one of the most dangerous as it can emit a deadly poison if stressed which can wipe out any other fish nearby.

“Fortunately this particular individual, who we have nicknamed Jethro, seems to be very chilled out.”