© Johan Boshoff


Boxfish (Ostraciidae)


Boxfish can reach about 60 cm in length.

Boxfish Identification

Boxfish have no pelvic fins and swim using their pectoral fins. Their names are small and terminal. A structure of hexagonal scales merged into a hard, square-shaped carapace covers their bodies, and deters their movement. They vary in colour but is predominantly of the honeycomb pattern.

Boxfish General Info

Boxfish belong to the Ostraciidae family which comprises of 14 genera and 37 species. One genus, named Lactophyrus, secretes venom from its skin. They are slow swimmers but swim in bursts of speed when alarmed or threatened. Its scientific name translates to ‘shell’ in Greek, and it is family of the pufferfish and cowfish. Juveniles are rounded in shape and colourful. They are pelagic spawners.

Boxfish Feeding

Boxfish feed on crustaceans, sponges, sea squirts, soft corals, worms and algae.


They can be found in temperate and tropical oceans across the world.

Common Species

Boxfish - Ostracion cubicus
Whitespotted boxfish - Ostracion meleagris

© Johan Boshoff