Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty: The Western Smooth Boxfish is seen quite commonly from the observatory, though they seem to be solitary. They are transient residents of the jetty, where they will pass through the area.
The Western Smooth Boxfish has a distinct but smoothly rounded ridge over back with numerous dark blotches. Juveniles and females pale whitish brown with fewer dark brown blotches, and are moderately common on shallow coastal reefs, particularly near seagrass beds, while large males are normally restricted to deeper water.
Boxfish and cowfish similarly have a hard-shelled carapace consisting of large, fused triangular bony plates, with holes for fins and slits for gills. Their skin lacks scales and contains toxins making them poisonous to eat. Their small lips protrude in a puckered profile that is used for blowing a jet of water over sediment to expose prey while feeding. They tend to be slow moving fish, due to the small size of their fins, though short bursts have been observed during social interactions. Western Smooth Boxfish grow to a maximum size of 39 centimetres and are found from Shark Bay, WA to the Great Australian Bight, SA.
Edgar, G. (1997) Australian Marine Life: The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters, Australia
Hutchins, B and Swainston, R. (1986) Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Swainston Publishing, Australia
Kuiter, R H. (1996) Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland Publishers, Australia
Morrison, S and P., Storrie, A. (2003) Beneath Busselton Jetty. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia image: australianmuseum.net.au