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/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

The Puffers Called Box-, Cowfishes, family Ostraciidae, part 4

To: part 1, part 2, part 3,

 

by Bob Fenner

 


Ostracion solorensis Bleeker 1852, the Reticulate Boxfish. Indo-Australian. To four inches in length. A great beauty and good choice for home aquarists. More and more available. A photo of a female Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia, and male in S. Sulawesi.

And a male in Mabul, Malaysia:

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
  

Ostracion trachys Randall 1975, the Roughskin Trunkfish. Western Indian Ocean: Mauritius. To four inches in length.

No pic

Ostracion whitleyi Fowler 1931, Whitley's Boxfish. Central to western Pacific. Males found more westward only. To six inches total length. At right is a female (and male!) in Hawaiian waters, where males are exceedingly rare. Below, a female and male in Nuka Hiva, Polynesia where both sexes are much more common. Note the differences in color, markings between the females of Hawai'i and the Marquesas.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available

Paracanthostracion lindsayi (Phillips 1932). Southwestern Pacific: New Zealand.

No pic

Polyplacapros tyleri Fuji & Uyeno 1979. Southwest Pacific, New Zealand and east Australia. 

No pic

Rhynchostracion nasus Bloch 1875, the Shortnose Boxfish. To 30 cm. E. Africa, Red Sea to W. Pacific. Red Sea pic. http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=8192&genusname=Ostracion& speciesname=nasus

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
 

Tetrosomus concatenatus (Bloch 1785), the Triangular Boxfish. Indo-west Pacific. To twelve inches.

No pic

Tetrosomus gibbosus (Linnaeus 1758), the Humpback Turretfish. Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, east African coast. To twelve inches in length. Here's one off of Na'ama Bay in Sharm, Egypt's Red Sea.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Tetrosomus reipublicae (Ogilby 1913), the Smallspine Turretfish. Indo-west Pacific, along east African coast. To twelve inches in length.

No pic

Deep/Coldwater Boxfishes: The Family Aracanidae or Subfamily Aracaninae: Some folks split off these genera, species on the basis of their carapace being open behind their dorsal and anal fins, and some other discernible external traits. The seven genera, 13 species rarely make it into the trade, but a few (below) are imported from where they are most commonly found (Australia).

Anoplocapros amygdaloides (Bleeker 1863), the Western Smooth Boxfish. Southeastern Indian Ocean: Australia's west and south coasts. To one foot in length.

No pic

Anoplocapros inermis Fraser-Brunner 1941, the Eastern Smooth Boxfish. Southwestern Pacific: Australia's eastern coast. To fourteen inches length in the wild. 

No pic

Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841), the White-Barred Boxfish. Southeastern Indian Ocean: Australia's west coast. To thirteen inches in length. This one in captivity is about four inches. Typical for aquarium use import.

Anoplocapros robustus (Fraser-Brunner 1941), the Chubby Basketfish. West Pacific. To nine inches.

No pic

Aracana aurata (Gray 1838), the Ornate Cowfish. To six inches overall. Eastern Indian Ocean: Australia (southern Western Australia to Western Victoria and Tasmania).  Juvenile and adult pix in Oregon... http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=14562&genusname=Aracana&speciesname=ornata

Aracana aurita (Shaw 1798), the Striped Cowfish. Indo-west Pacific. To eight inches. Aquarium images of juvenile and adult at right and an intermediate individual below. 

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Aracana ornata (Gray 1838), the Ornate Cowfish. Southeastern Indian Ocean. To six inches in length.

 No pic

Caprichthys gymnura McCulloch & Waite 1915, the Rigid Boxfish. Southeastern Indian Ocean. To four inches.

No pic

Capropygia unistriata (Kaup 1855), the Black-Banded Pygmy Boxfish. Southeastern Indian Ocean. To five inches.

No pic

Kentrocapros aculeatus (Houttuyn 1782). Western north Pacific: South China Sea. To five inches in length.

No pic

Kentrocapros eco (Phillips 1932). Southwestern Pacific: New Zealand. To four inches.

No pic

Kentocapros flavofasciatus (Kamohara 1938). Western North Pacific and New Caledonia (antitropical in distribution). To five inches in length.

No pic

Kentrocapros rosapinto (Smith 1949), the Basketfish. Western Indian Ocean. To about five inches in length. 

No pic

And further regarding the keeping of ostraciids; they have not had a good record of success with marine aquarists, mainly related to diet or the lack of it. These fishes need food, green AND meaty on a regular basis; most are lost to outright starvation. Especially on first arrival, or when you acquire them, it is critical that the specimen begin feeding. Please see the notes under foods/feeding below.

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Debelius, Helmut. Undated. Pufferfish in the marine aquarium. Aquarium Digest International #27.

Debelius, Helmut. Undated. Boxfish- those fascinating marine oddities. Aquarium Digest International #36.

Edmonds, Les. 1989. Boxfishes-armor in the aquarium. TFH 7/89.

Fong, Jack. 1994. The ten most amusing Boxfishes. TFH 8/94.

Lobel, Philip S. 1985. Spawning behavior of the spotted trunkfish, Ostracion meleagris. FAMA 8/85.

Michael, Scott W. 1997. The puffers; unique in many ways. AFM 8/97.

Michael, Scott W. 1998. Swimming boxes. Boxfish are interesting to keep, but choose their tankmates carefully to avoid disaster. AFM 3/98.

Nelson, Joseph S. 1994. Fishes of the World, 3d ed. John Wiley & Sons, NY.

Pyle, Richard L. 1989. Whitley's boxfish, Ostracion whitleyi Fowler. FAMA 7/89.

Quinn, John R. 1986. Puffers & friends; a look at the pros and cons of keeping the popular puffers. TFH 5/86.

To: part 1, part 2, part 3,

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