Spotted boxfish

A male spotted boxfish in the water off the Big Island of Hawaii.A female spotted boxfish in the water off the Big Island of Hawaii.

The spotted boxfish is the most common boxfish in Hawaii. They really are little boxes with a hard carapace. Only their fins, eyes and mouth move. They can also secrete a toxic slime if they’re bothered.

Surprisingly, given their shape, they’re very good swimmers and can easily outdistance a human. Such is their prowess in this regard that they’ve served as inspiration for submarine and car designs.

On a more basic level, they’re always fun to see in the water, puttering along nimbly, and keeping a good distance ahead of pursuing photographers. The top boxfish is a male and the one on the left, a female.

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