Spotted Boxfish, Ostracion meleagris meleagris: The Spotted Boxfish has an overall black coloration. The female is covered with small white spots and has a rounded caudal fin. The male is covered with either white spots or orange spots that dissipate toward the back of the body, and a square caudal fin.
The Spotted Boxfish is found in the first 100 feet of the water column around coral and rocky reefs. It reaches a maximum length of 9 inches. The Spotted Boxfish is unique in appearance and cannot be confused with other species.
Although widely distributed globally, in Mexican waters the Spotted Boxfish is only found south of La Paz in the Sea of Cortez, south of Mazatlan along the coast of the Mexican mainland, and around the oceanic islands.
The Spotted Boxfish is a member of the Ostraciidae Family which includes boxfishes and cowfishes, known in Mexico fishing areas as peces cofre.
This family consists of 14 genera and 33 species globally of which two are found in Mexican fishing waters. They are slow swimmers and characterized by having bodies that consist of rectangular boxes made up of bony plates. The body and the small fins do not have spines and they do not have pelvic fins.
They have a social structure consisting of a harem of three or four females and one male. They are protected by a toxic slime that can kill other fishes, making them unsuitable for use in aquariums. They feed on algae, soft corals, crustaceans, sponges, truncates, and worms.