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 wavy lines (and sometimes spots) beside the white bands. The almost spherical juveniles are brownish-orange with darker bands.

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

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Anoplocapros lenticularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/832

Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southern and western Australia from Western Port, Victoria, to the Houtman Abrolhos islands, Western Australia, at depths to 250 m. 

Although occasionally observed by divers on offshore reefs and around jetty pylons, Whitebarred Boxfish 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 noticeably concave in adults, eyes high on head, dorsal and ventral surfaces almost keel-like; males have a higher, more rounded dorsal profile than females. Small juveniles are rounded in shape.


Adult males are yellowish-orange to brownish-orange or reddish with broad pale grey to whitish bands on the side, one from eye to lips, another from top of dorsal ridge to cheek, and a third along the posterior margin of the carapace. Females are similar, but paler with additional black irregular lines and spots on the dorsal half of body. Small juveniles are somewhat similar to females, but with more spots.


Feeds on invertebrates, especially crustaceans.


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


Although of no interest to fisheries, the species is caught (and discarded) as by-catch in commercial trawls in the Great Australian Bight and southwest Western Australia.Whitebarred Boxfish are also collected for institutional aquaria.


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 colour pattern, and in having a concave head profile (adults). The body is orange to red, or reddish brown with irregular brown to black lines (females and juveniles) or diagonal pale bands males.


The specific name is from the Latin lenticularis (= lentil-shaped, lens-shaped) in reference to the body shape of this species: "form of lenticularis, in which the sides are convex, the back and belly acute, and the profile elliptical".

Species Citation

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


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis (Richardson 1841)


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. 

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

Holleman, W., Fennessy, S., Russell, B. & Matsuura, K. 2020. Anoplocapros lenticularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T158883246A158883898. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T158883246A158883898.en. Downloaded on 09 May 2021.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

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

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. 

Kaup, J.J. 1855. Uebersicht über die Species einiger Familien der Sclerodermen. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 21(1): 215-233 (described as Acerana (Anoplocapros) grayi) See ref at BHL

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. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Matsuura, K. 2008. Families Ostraciidae, Tetraodontidae. pp. 842-856 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-014-0444-5

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 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 (described as Anoplocapros gibbosus) See ref at BHL

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

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37466010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:4-250 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (difficult)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:33 cm TL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map