Yellow Boxfish, scientifically known as Ostracion cubicus, is a square-shaped fish found in reefs across the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and southeastern Atlantic Ocean.
It has also been seen in the Mediterranean Sea since 2011, after entering through the Suez Canal. This fish is popular among aquarium enthusiasts.
When young, it’s bright yellow with black spots as a warning to predators. As it gets older, its color becomes blue-grey or black with faded yellow.
The diet of yellow boxfish mainly consists of marine algae but can also include worms, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
This fish releases a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin when stressed or injured which can be lethal to surrounding fish.
Mercedes-Benz was inspired by this fish shape for their Bionic concept car in 2006 because they thought it was aerodynamic and self-stabilizing.
However, scientists found that their agility comes from an unstable body combined with how they use their fins for movement.
This fish is also solitary feeding on various food sources like algae, microorganisms, invertebrates, mollusks, sponges,sand-dwelling polychaetes, and crustaceans.
Caution should be taken while introducing this fish to a reef tank.
Yellow Boxfish Interesting Facts
- Yellow boxfish change color as they age, starting with bright yellow and black spots and eventually becoming blue-grey or black with faded yellow.
- Their diet includes marine algae, worms, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
- When stressed or injured, they release a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin that can be lethal to surrounding fish.
- Mercedes-Benz used the yellow boxfish’s shape as inspiration for their Bionic concept car in 2006 due to its perceived aerodynamics and self-stabilization.
Yellow Boxfish Habitat
Yellow boxfish is found in the Indo-Pacific region.
Its location ranges from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to East Africa, Hawaii, Tuamoto Islands, the Ryukyu Islands, and Lord Howe Island.
This fish lives in marine environments near reefs at depths of 1 to 280 meters (usually 1 to 50 meters).
It’s usually found in lagoons and semi-sheltered seaward reefs. Young yellow boxfish often live among Acropora corals.
Yellow boxfish thrives in tropical waters with latitudes of 30°N to 32°S.
Yellow Boxfish Physical Characteristics
Size: 17.7 inches (45.0 centimeters)
Yellow boxfish grows up to 17.7 inches (45.0 centimeters) long.
It has no dorsal and anal spines but has 8 to 9 dorsal soft rays, 9 anal soft rays, and 10 caudal fin rays. This fish is popular for its unique appearance.
Young yellow boxfish are bright yellow with black spots. As they grow, the spots decrease in size, and the yellow turns into a mustard color.
Large adults become blue with yellow seams between their plates.
There are also additional features like adult yellow boxfish have many black spots on their fins, while young ones have scattered black spots on their head and body.
Carapace has a square shape in cross-section, broad at the base and narrower at the top, with concave sides.
The snout of this fish is a straight dorsal profile, while the bony bump above the upper lip is present in adults but not in the young yellow boxfish.
There is also a rounded caudal fin.
Yellow Boxfish Reproduction
Yellow boxfish lives in small groups called harems.
These solitary creatures breed during spring in small groups with one male and two to four females.