Animal Species:Horn-nose Boxfish, Rhynchostracion rhinorhynchos (Bleeker, 1852)

The Horn-nose Boxfish occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific. Large individuals are darker with more dark spots.

Horn-nose Boxfish caught in 2003

Horn-nose Boxfish caught in 2003
Photographer: Jim McMaster © Jim McMaster

Standard Common Name

Horn-nose Boxfish


The Horn-nose Boxfish has a carapace that is pentagonal in cross-section. The body ridges are relatively sharp-edged, and lack spines. There is a distinct bump on snout. This species is whitish with black spots on the back and caudal peduncle. Large fish are darker with more dark spots.

Size range

The species grows to 35 cm in length.


The Horn-nose Boxfish occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific from East Africa to Indonesia, north to Japan and south to Australia. In Australia it is known from off north-western Western Australia to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland.

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.

Rhynchostracion rhinorhynchos

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Horn-nose Boxfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


It is found on coral reefs and flat bottoms to a depth of 50 m.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Gloerfelt-Tarp, T & P.J. Kailola. 1984. Trawled Fishes of southern Indonesia and north-western Australia. Jakarta: Directorate General of Fisheries (Indonesia), German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Australian Development Assistance Bureau. Pp. 406.
  4. 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.
  5. Matsuura, K. 2001. Ostraciidae in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Horn-nose Boxfish, Rhynchostracion rhinorhynchos, Ostraciidae, grey, green, brown, odd-shaped, 30 cm - 1 m, dots/spots, coral reef, marine, adult, extended snout on head,