Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Ostracion meleagris meleagris, Spotted boxfish, White spotted boxfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

rigid box, no horns
female - dark + white spots
male - dark blue + orange & black ocelli

Ostracion meleagris meleagris Shaw in Shaw & Nodder, 1796

Spotted boxfish, White spotted boxfish

Body oblong, thick, enclosed in a bony box formed by thickened, joined, enlarged, hexagonal scale plates; box rectangular, with back gently rounded, a pair of rounded longitudinal ridges on lower flanks, bottom flat; box without spines, with openings for mouth, eyes, gill slits and fins and tail base; snout not projecting; mouth small, opens at front, lips fleshy; teeth moderate, conical, usually < 15 per jaw; gill openings are short, oblique slits in front of pectoral bases; no spiny dorsal, soft dorsal and anal fins at rear of carapace; dorsal rays 9; anal rays 9; pectoral rays 11; no pelvic fins; tail base slender, flexible; tail fin 8 branched rays, a fan with a rounded end; lateral line inconspicuous.

Juveniles and females dark brown with small brown white spots; males dark brown with small white to yellow spots dorsally on carapace, blue elsewhere with dark-edged orange-yellow spots on side, these sometimes coalescing to form an irregular band along upper flank ridge.

Size: grows to 25 cm.

Inhabits coral and rocky reefs.

Depth: 3-30 m.

Wide ranging in the tropical Indo-Pacific from East Africa to the Americas; the tip of Baja, the SE Gulf of California to Ecuador and all the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Corals
  • Rocks
  • Reef only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Sessile worms
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 30