29 photos 10 species


 They are divided into 2 subfamilies with 14 genera and 37 species.

Boxfish have body armour that is triangular, quadrangular or pentagonal.

They cannot bend their bodies, so they do not swim like other fish.

Their skin can secrete a poison, which can be fatal to other fish.

Acanthostracion polygonium

Honeycomb cowfish

 Maximum length: 45 cm

Depth: 6 - 25 m

Their body has a honeycomb pattern.

There is a pointed spine above each eye.

This species comes in blue to green and yellow colours.

Swim in reef areas.

Very shy, remain motionless, relying on their camouflage, but retreat very quickly when they realise that they have been discovered.

Photos 1 -4 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Lactophrys bicaudalis

Spotted trunkfish, Boxfish, Cow-fish or Shellfish

 Maximum length: 40 cm

Depth: 5 - 20 m

White with black dots, area around the mouth completely white.

Swims above the reefs, but often stands in the entrance areas to small holes and overhangs.

Shy, withdraws when approached.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Lactophrys triqueter

Smooth trunkfish

Initial phase
Initial phase

 Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 5 - 25 m

Dark body covered with white dots.

Medium body area with pale, honeycomb-like markings.

Dark area at the mouth and at the root of the tail.

Found over reefs, sometimes also over sandy areas.

Not shy, you can get relatively close to them.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Photos 3 - 6 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Lactoria cornuta

Longhorn cowfish or Horned boxfish

Maximum length: 46 cm

Depth: 1 - 100 m

Angular body, armoured with bone plates underneath the scales.

The body itself is generally rigid.

Horn-like outgrowths on the forehead.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi 

Lactoria fornasini

Thornback cowfish

 Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 3 - 50 m

Green to brown with blue spots and marks.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Ostracion cubicus

Yellow boxfish

Juvenil slightly larger
Juvenil slightly larger

 Maximum length: 45 cm

Depth: 1 - 45 m

Juvenile fish yellow with black spots.

The colouring of the males is very variable and they have a nose bulge.

Females are yellow with white spots.

Always close to hiding places in lagoons and on outer reefs.

Vigilant and shy.

Photos 1 - 7 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Ostracion cyanurus

Bluetail trunkfish

 Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 metres

Found in shallow lagoons, bays and outer reefs.

Solitary and shy, always close to hiding places.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Ostracion meleagris

Spotted boxfish or White-spotted boxfish


 Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 1 30 m

They live individually, in pairs or in small groups on coral reef patches in sandy areas

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Ostracion solorense

Reticulate boxfish

 Maximum length: 12 cm

Depth: 1 - 20 m

Inhabits clear coastal reefs on shallow ridges or in the upper zone of slopes.

Relatively rare inhabitant of coral-rich areas.

Travelling singly or in pairs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Tetrosomus gibbosus

Camel cowfish, Helmet cowfish, Humpback turretfish or 

Thornbacked boxfish

 Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 3 - 110 m

Olive-grey body with blue spots and a large pyramid spine on its back.

Blows living invertebrates in the sand free with a water jet to feed.

Vigilant and shy.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt