Ralph Foster from the SA Museum is keen to find out if divers in SA have seen any bicoloured specimens of Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis. He is referring to orange & white colouration without any dark markings. He says that orange & white Whitebarred Boxfish without any dark markings are supposed to be males. Pictures of these orange & white Whitebarred Boxfish without any dark markings are common on iNaturalist observations from WA, but there are none from the east, including SA, which he says he finds intriguing. The WA iNatutralist observations with lots of bicoloured specimens can be found at https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations?place_id=6827&taxon_id=513816.
I had sent some Whitebarred Boxfish photos to Ralph, but he said, “None of the images you sent show fish like this (orange & white Whitebarred Boxfish without any dark markings), which only adds to the mystery. When I have time I’ll take a look at the specimens in the museum collection – even though most of the bright colours are lost when they are preserved, the dark markings should still be visible. I don’t recall ever having seen any without dark markings, but last time I handled them I wasn’t wondering about this so maybe I just missed them. So, I’m still interested in the matter and keen to hear from anyone who has seen a classic bicoloured male. Here are the SA iNat observations for comparison –
https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations?place_id=6899&taxon_id=513816 . Photos can be sent to Ralph.Foster@samuseum.sa.gov.au.
PAST SIGHTINGS BY ME
The most memorable sightings of Whitebarred boxfish that I recall occurred at Point Turton late December 2007. I visited nearby Magazine Bay to see if it was a good spot to dive at. As soon as I stuck my head underwater, I saw a boxfish. That’s good enough for me, I thought.
I dived there the next day at about 8am due to 40C temps. Although I don’t have any further recollections or photos from Magazine Bay, I dived at the jetty later that day. I saw 2 boxfish there. One of those is shown in these 3 photos:-
This close-up of a boxfish was taken by a friend and it was in his home aquarium: -.
Apart from my boxfish sightings in 2007, my most recent boxfish sighting occurred at Port Hughes on 28th May 2021. The vis was too murky for good photography though: –