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

Yellow Boxfish

Alternative Name/s

Blue-spotted Box-fish, Cubed Boxfish, Cubical Boxfish, Polka Dot Boxfish, Yellow Trunkfish

Identification

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.

Size range

The species grows to 45 cm in length.

Distribution

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.

Ostracion cubicus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Yellow Boxfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

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.

Classification

Species:
cubicus
Genus:
Ostracion
Family:
Ostraciidae
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 244.
  2. 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.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 408.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 469.
  5. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 265.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Ichthyology, Yellow Boxfish, Ostracion cubicus, Ostraciidae, fishes, yellow, black, odd-shaped, 30 cm - 1 m, dots/spots, rocky reef, marine, adult,