Humpback Turretfish, Tetrosomus gibbosus (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Black-Blotched Turret Fish, Black-blotched Turretfish, Black-blotched Turret-fish

A Humpback Turretfish, Tetrosomus gibbosus, at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, November 2014. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A pale grey to brownish boxfish with a hexagonal network pattern and irregular blotches on the side, especially along the lower margin of the carapace. The Humpback Turretfish is triangular in shape,  with a single spine on the tip of the strongly elevated dorsal ridge.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Tetrosomus gibbosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024,

Humpback Turretfish, Tetrosomus gibbosus (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Moreton Bay, Queensland. Juveniles may occur as far south as the Perth region on the west coast. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa eastward through northern Australia to New Caledonia, northward to southern Japan. It has also spread to the Mediterranean, via the Suez Canal.
The species usually inhabits coastal slopes and sheltered muddy to sandy substrates in deeper offshore waters. Individuals are also seen near shallow macroalgal and seagrass beds with silty rubble substrates, and areas of part-destroyed coral reefs, and rocky outcrops. 


Dorsal fin 9; Anal fin 9; Pectoral fin 10.


Feeds on macroalgae and benthic invertebrates, including polychaete worms, crustaceans, molluscs, and sponges.


The flesh and internal organs are considered poisonous (Matsuura 2010).

Similar Species

The similar Smallspine Turretfish, Tetrosomus reipublicae, differs in having a moderately elevated dorsal ridge with two small spines on the middle part, a straight to slightly concave snout, and a truncate to slightly rounded caudal fin. 

Species Citation

Ostracion gibbosus Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae 1: 332. Type locality: India.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Humpback Turretfish, Tetrosomus gibbosus (Linnaeus 1758)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp. 

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 (as Lactoria gibosus)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp. 

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls. 

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. & Yoshino, T. (eds) 1984. The Fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Tokyo : Tokai University Press Vol. 1–2 437 pp. 247 figs 370 pls. 

Matsuura, K. 2001. Ostraciidae, Aracanidae, Triodontidae, Tetraodontidae. pp. 3948-3957 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Matsuura, K. 2010. Tetrosomus gibbosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154933A4671390. Downloaded on 17 August 2017.

Matsuura, K. 2014. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research 62(1): 72-113. REF available - open access

Matsuura, K. & Tyler, J.C. 1997. Tetraodontiform fishes, mostly from deep waters, of New Caledonia. pp. 173-208 in Séret, B. (ed.). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM 17. Mémoires du Muséum nationale d'Histoire naturelle Series A (Zoologie) [1950-1992] 174: 1-213 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84 

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Spanier, E. & Goren, M. 1988. An Indo-Pacific trunkfish Tetrosomus gibbosus (Linnaeus): first record of the family Ostracionidae in the Mediterranean. Journal of Fish Biology 32: 797-798.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37466006

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-110 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated, seagrass/weedy areas

Max Size:22 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map