Boxfish or Turretfish – Tetraodontiformes
I love beach walks! Other than the oceans energy, the salty air and beauty of the scenery, there is always something interesting to find. Last weekend we walked around Robberg, the rocky island and nature reserve at Plettenbergbay. And there he was, a bit smelly and immediately catching my eye. I had found a boxfish before and wondered about this not so common family of fish – at least along our beaches here at the Garden Route. This chap is a reef fish and might have come from further north?
Wikipedia tells us that Ostraciidae is a family of squared, bony fish belonging to the order Tetraodontiformes . They occur in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Members of this family occur in a variety of different colors, and are notable for the hexagonal or “honeycomb” patterns on their skin. They swim in a rowing manner. The hexagonal plate-like scales of these fish are fused together into a solid, triangular, box-like carapace, from which the fins, tail, eyes and mouth protrude. Because of these heavy armoured scales, Ostraciidae are limited to slow movements, but few other fish are able to eat the adults.
At Cape Towns Two Oceans Aquarium you can see the triangular boxfish Tetrosomus concatenatus http://www.aquarium.co.za/species_exhibits/browse_species/triangular_boxfish/