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The ”trunk” in the name of the spotted trunkfish refers to a hard, box-like carapace of this species that serves as a protective armor against predators.

The carapace is formed from thick hexagonal scale plates called scutes. Each scute has a rigid mineralized outer layer coupled with an inner layer of interwoven collagen fibers.

Even if predators are able to bite into the hard shell, the fibrous layer will prevent the scutes from pulling part. An amazing example of mechanical engineering from the natural world.

Spotted trunkfish are found in the reefs and seagrass beds of the western Atlantic from Florida to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

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  • Title: Spotted trunkfish - a toxic reef-dweller

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