The boxy is a boxfish - a group of fish notable for their compact, armoured bodies with fused scales and no dorsal fins. The boxy itself does not have any spines or spikes (common in other boxfishes). Females are bright yellow and males are blue-green. Males and females have a single white spot on each scale, ringed with black spots. Juveniles are yellow and have only black spots.

The boxy is primarily an algae eater, feeding on seaweed. However, it will opportunistically feed on sea sponges and shellfish if available.

The boxy has a potent defence mechanism - when threatened or stressed they are able to release a poison from their skin that is deadly to marine fish (and often to the boxy itself if it cannot flee).

Boxies are solitary, and only congregate during seasonal breeding. Juveniles remain in small groups and hide amongst corals.

Boxies inhabit coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and are common along the African east coast, extending south to Plettenberg Bay.

The Mercedez-Benz Bionic - a concept car based on the shape of the boxy. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Species Facts

  • Also known as a yellow boxfish, boxy, Boston bean, black-spotted boxfish, cube trunkfish, cubical boxfish, polka-dot boxfish and spotted boxfish.
  • Grows up to 45cm.
  • In 2006, Mercedes-Benz modeled a car on the shape of the boxy. They incorrectly assumed the boxy's agility was due to its shape, but actually it was due to the fish's exceptional fin control.