Yellow Boxfish

Yellow Boxfish

  Tropical reef fish

Yellow Boxfish

Identity card

Yellow Boxfish

Scientific name:
Ostracion cubicus, Kentrocapro
Year of description:
Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

Red Sea, Pacific Ocean, from the Hawaiian Islands and southern Japan to the Tuamotu Islands and New Zealand.


Typically between depths of 1 and 50 metres.


It can measure up to 45 cm.


Algae, micro-organisms, molluscs, sponges, small crustaceans, polychaete worms, foraminifera, and small fish.

Yellow Boxfish

Shy, curious, the yellow boxfish likes to watch what is happening on the other side of the aquarium

The yellow boxfish is mostly solitary but can live in a harem with one male and 2 to 4 females at breeding time.

Did you know?

Where is the animal to be found?

The yellow boxfish lives in the sandy areas of lagoons, seaweed meadows, crevices, under overhangs and in sheltered reefs, generally at a depth of 1 to 50 metres.

How can it be recognised?

The body of the boxfish is enclosed in a carapace of bony plates (in the shape of a box), with openings for the mouth, eyes, fins, etc. Their skin secretes a highly toxic mucus that protects them from predators.
It looks like a rectangular box. When young, it can be recognised by its yellow colour with black spots. As it grows, its skin changes colour and becomes yellow.
Even though this fish is relatively slow, it can use its fins to move in many different ways: on the spot, backwards and to turn around.… Its distinctive way of swimming is even known as the gondolier style.
It can measure up to 45 cm. 

What is distinctive about it?

This species is oviparous and its eggs are released in the current.

Biomimicry: its box-shaped body and hydrodynamics inspired the design of the mercedes-Benz Bionic car.

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