Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841)

Other Names: Flame Boxfish, High-backed Boxfish, Humpback Boxfish, Humpty Dumpty, Smooth Boxfish, White-barred Boxfish

A male Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A deep-bodied orange to reddish, or reddish-brown boxfish with almost keel-like dorsal and ventral surfaces. The bright reddish-orange males have an irregular pattern of white bands, while females have dark lines beside the white white bands. The almost spherical juveniles are brownish-orange with dark spots that form bands as they grow.

Video of male and female Whitebarred Boxfish - male filmed at Rottnest Island, female at Esperance, Western Australia.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Anoplocapros lenticularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Mar 2021,

Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southern and western Australia from Western Port (Victoria) to Dongara (Western Australia), in depths of 4-250 m. 

Although individuals are occasionally observed by divers on offshore reefs and around jetty pylons, they are most frequently seen as by-catch in commercial trawl operations, especially in the Great Australian Bight.


Dorsal fin 9-11; Anal fin 10-11; Pectoral fin 12; Caudal fin 11.

Body enclosed in a bony carapace; two series of bony plates covered in rough tubercles around the caudal peduncle, anterior ring is incomplete laterally, posterior ring is continuous. Snout concave, eyes high on head, dorsal and ventral surfaces almost keel-like; males have a higher, more rounded dorsal profile than females.


Adult males are brownish-orange to red with several broad pale grey to whitish bands on each side, one from eye to lips, another from top of dorsal ridge to cheek, and a third along the posterior margin of the carapace. Juveniles and females are similar, but paler with additional black irregular lines on the dorsal half of body.


Carnivore - feeds on invertebrates such as crustaceans.


The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Eggs and larvae are pelagic.


Although of no interest to fisheries, the species is taken as by-catch in commercial trawls.


Although the flesh is not poisonous, a mucous toxin, ostracitoxin, is present in at least some boxfishes. If stressed, boxfish may secrete this poison from their skin. In aquaria, this toxin may kill other fishes, eventually including the boxfish itself if exposed long enough. The precise location of this toxin in various species is not fully understood, so boxfishes should be considered potentially toxic to humans and their consumption as food should be avoided.

Similar Species

Differs from the two other species in the genus Anoplocapros in having a concave dorsal profile of the head and snout and in colour. The body is orange to red, or reddish brown with irregular black lines (females and juveniles) or diagonal pale bands males.

Species Citation

Ostracion lenticularis Richardson, 1841, Proc. zool. Soc. Lond. 1841: 21. Type locality: Australia.


Dianne J. Bray

Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841)


Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Aracanidae. pp. 892-902, figs 788-794 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

Matsuura, K. 2008. Family Ostraciidae (pp. 842-948). In: Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. & Waite, E.R. 1915. A revision of the genus Aracana and its allies. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 39: 477-493 pls 16-25.

Richardson, J. 1841. On some new or little known fishes from Australian seas. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 9: 21-22.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37466010

Danger:May be poisonous

Depth:4-250 metres

Fishing:Aquarium fish (difficult)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:33 cm TL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map