Yellow Boxfish

The Yellow Boxfish (Ostracion cubicus) is a small marine (saltwater) fish in the Ostraciidae family of boxfish.

The Yellow Boxfish has hexagonal scales that form a solid, triangular box-like shell called a carapace. The male and the female look similar. It is bright yellow at birth and the colour fades as it ages. It is yellow with blue-black spots, which are smaller on its white underbelly and larger on its sides.  It has a small mouth and large, bulging blue and yellow eyes.

Yellow Boxfish

It grows to about 45 centimetres (18 inches) in length.

The Yellow Boxfish lives in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, as well as the south-eastern Atlantic Ocean. It prefers shallow coral reefs and lagoons. It is benthic because it lives on the bottom of the ocean.

It has a unique way of swimming. It looks as if it is slowly hovering, like a hummingbird in the water. This is called ostraciiform swimming.  

It is omnivorous, feeding on algae, worms, crabs, sponges, snails, and small fish. It blows water into the sand to stir it up to find its prey. If it is stressed, it emits a deadly toxin called pautoxin in the mucous of its skin, which can kill its predators. Its bright yellow colour is also a warning signal to its predators. 

The Yellow Boxfish is a solitary fish. 

Yellow Boxfish
Yellow Boxfish
Yellow Boxfish

Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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