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.


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: –

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

3 thought on “Photos of Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis Wanted”
  1. Very interesting question thanks Ralph and Steve.
    I have vague memories of seeing bicolour ones here in SA but again I can’t rely on memories and I suspect that when I search my library next few days I will only find tricolour photos.
    And I don’t think I’ve too many photos of the species yet to post anyway. Anecdotally its a boxfish species that I rarely saw in the first few decades of my diving life, which was probably just because most of my earlier diving was limited to sites near Adelaide, bottom times were rarely more than one hour (buddy diving was de rigeur then, buddies usually tore around as fast and far as they could, boat diving was usually via advance booking with UEC members on weekends so viz was often poor,and my early camera gear was restrictive in itself. And pre scuba training @ age 16 I was a spearo and any boxfish and puffers were ignored for obvious reasons).
    However this is mostly guesswork and I also wonder if the species is becoming more common here due global warming? And even wonder if some unknown anthropogenic determinant has skewed the gender representation, but I am going nowhere with that?!!

    1. I’ve done a limited search of my images and found no bicolour Whitebarred Boxfish. I have told Ralph Foster this via the iNat portal. I will keep an eye out for any older photos of the species that I’ve missed (due limited search capabilities),and of course I’ll try to get images of each future encounter regardless of whether the fish are bicolour or tricolour.

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