The spotted boxfish swims in a unique style, called ostraciiform swimming, that was named for this species. It “hovers” by using its modified fins. It swims using its highly flexible caudal fin.
  • Size

    Common length of 4-6 inches (10.1-15.2 cm)
  • Diet

    Small sponges, mollusks, algae and other small marine life
  • Range

    Indo-Pacific and into the eastern Pacific, predominately along the coast of Mexico
  • Habitat

    Lagoons and seaward reefs

Physical Characteristics

  • Coloration is sexually dimorphic (different for males and females).
    • Females and juvenile range from brown to olive green with white or green spots.
    • Males are brown with white spots on their upper body; lower half is separated by a bright yellow band and coloring ranges from blue to black with brighter spots.
  • Common length is 4-6 inches (10.1-15.2 cm); females tend to be bigger than males.
  • Defends itself using toxic mucus secreted from body.

Animal Fact

The spotted boxfish defends itself using toxic mucus secreted from body.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of small sponges, small mollusks, algae and other small marine life.
  • Females use their longer snouts to blow jets of water into the sand in order to find prey.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Indo-Pacific and into the eastern Pacific, predominantly along the coast of Mexico.
  • Found in clear lagoons and seaward reefs at depths of 9-114 feet (3-35 m).
  • Juvenile usually stays near rocky areas, while adult tends to stay near reef crests and slopes.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Males and females release their gametes at the same time, which fertilize and remain in the water.
  • Protogynous hermaphrodite; all juveniles are born female, and some change biologically to become males.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as the “whitespotted boxfish.”
  • Either solitary or live in groups of one male and a small number of females.
  • Male more likely to swim in open water than female.
  • Swim in a unique style, called ostraciiform swimming, that was named for this species.
    • “Hovers” by using its modified fins; swims using its highly flexible caudal fin.

Sources

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