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White Barred Boxfish

White Barred Boxfish

Anoplocarpus lenticularis

The white-barred boxfish has distinctive body shape, characterised by their high domed back. Males are bright orange to red with several thick white vertical bands across the length of the body from nose to tail. Females and juveniles are more orange, with black outlines or spotting around each of the while bars. Juveniles are almost spherical and have similar colouring to female fishes. Males can grow quite large, up to 33cm but females are smaller growing to a maximum size of 20cm.
The species is found near moderately exposed reefs and jetty pylons from Dongara in WA around the southern coast to Lorne in Victoria. The white-barred boxfish falls in the Order Tetradontiformes, which includes pufferfish, toadfish, porcupine fish and globefish, all of which contains the extremely potent toxins. White barred boxfish flesh is not poisionous but the skin can secrete a mucous toxin ostracitoxin – this toxin is not fully understood, so contact should be avoided.

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty

White barred boxfish are very common beneath Busselton Jetty, with both large males and smaller females easy to spot swimming around the jetty piles and rubble on the seafloor. Look closely amongst the sponges and you may even spot a ping-pong ball size juvenile, camouflaged in the vibrant sponge growth.

Image by: S. Daniels