Animal Species:Yellow Boxfish, Ostracion cubicus Linnaeus, 1758
The Yellow Boxfish can be recognised by its box-shaped body, bright yellow colouration and black spots. The species occurs in tropical and temperate marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Blue-spotted Box-fish, Cubed Boxfish, Cubical Boxfish, Polka Dot Boxfish, Yellow Trunkfish
The Yellow Boxfish can be recognised by its box-shaped body, bright yellow colouration and black spots. Juveniles have black spots about the size of the pupil. As the fish grows, the spots become smaller and brownish, sometimes even changing to white spots with a black margin.
The species grows to 45 cm in length.
The species occurs in tropical and temperate marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific, including Indonesia, New Guinea, north to the Philippine Islands and east to Fiji and French Polynesia. In Australia the Yellow Boxfish is known from the central coast of Western Australia around the tropical north and down the east coast to south of Sydney, New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The Yellow Boxfish inhabits coral and rocky reefs, and is found at depths of 1 m to 40 m. Adult Yellow Boxfish are often solitary and occur on deeper coastal slopes, lagoons and areas where there are crevices and ledges for shelter. Larval fish generally settle on sheltered rocky and coral reefs. In New South Wales this occurs in the summer months, when juveniles are often found in small aggregations.
Feeding and Diet
It feeds on a range of benthic organisms such as molluscs, crustaceans, fishes, sand-dwelling polychaete worms and algae. View video of a Yellow Boxfish feeding.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 244.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 408.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 469.
- Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 265.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology