Boxfishes


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Boxfishes, cowfishes and turretfishes are the members of the Ostraciidae family. They are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Boxfishes (Ostraciidae family) and trunkfishes (Aracanidae family) are easily recognized by their almost completely encased bony shell body. Boxfishes are distinguished by not having isolated bony plates on their caudal peduncle and having 8 branched rays caudal fin.

Boxfishes are slow-swimming, benthic-dwelling fishes. They are found on rocky and coral reefs, and over sand, weed, or sponge-covered bottoms to depths of 100 m. They feed mainly on benthic invertebrates and algae. They are territorial and haremic, with several females per male, spawning pelagic eggs at dusk. Some species are reported to have toxic flesh and are also able to secrete a highly toxic substance called ostracitoxin when distressed.

There are 8 genera and about 28 species worldwide. Malaysia has about 6 species.

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Scientific Name: Lactoria cornuta  (Linnaeus, 1758)
English Name: Longhorn Cowfish
Local Malay Name: Ikan Buntal Kotak, Buntal Kumbang, Buntal Tanduk, Lelembu, Kaban Tanduk
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Buntel Koper, Sapi Sapi, Penginang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเป้ากล่องเขาวัว (Plāk pạkpêā kl̀xng k̄heā wạw)
Main Identification Features: Body encased in shell of thick scaly plates. Two long sharp spines projecting anteriorly from eyes. Two sharp, stout spines projecting posteriorly from rear end of ventrolateral ridge. Body greenish to yellowish with blue or white spots.
Size: Maximum total length 50 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Rocky and coral reefs, usually to 50 m depth. Adults are solitary while juveniles often form small groups. Feeds on benthic invertebrates hidden in the sand by blowing away the sand with its downturned tubular mouth.
Remarks: Some species of Ostraciidae are reported to have toxic flesh and able to secrete ostracitoxin when distressed that is highly toxic, both to other fishes and themselves in enclosed areas.








Scientific Name: Rhynchostracion nasus  (Bloch, 1785)
English Name: Shortnose Boxfish
Local Malay Name: Ikan Buntal Kotak, Buntal Peti, Buntal Panjang, Kaban Tanda
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Buntel Koper, Penginang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาปักเข้าสี่เหลี่ยม (Plā pạk k̄hêā s̄ī̀h̄elī̀ym)
Main Identification Features: Body encased in a hexagonal bony shell formed of enlarge, thicked scale plates. Mouth subterminal with thick lips. Small protuberance above the mouth and a distinctly concave snout profile. No pelvic fin. Anal fin origin behind dorsal fin. Body with dark spots.
Size: Maximum total length 30 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Coastal waters, coral reefs areas, to 80 m depth. Feeds on benthic invertebrates.
Remarks: Some species of Ostraciidae are reported to have toxic flesh and able to secrete ostracitoxin when distressed that is highly toxic, both to other fishes and themselves in enclosed areas. Although this particular species has not been definitely incriminated as toxic, it is believed to be poisonous at times.





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