Yellow Boxfish – Toxic And Inspiring?

Yellow Boxfish – Toxic And Inspiring?

Yellow Boxfish Have An Evil Side

Yellow boxfish are virtually guaranteed on any Phuket scuba diving trip. Cute, quirky and very photogenic, the yellow boxfish hides a couple of surprising facts. It should be of no surprise that the yellow boxfish has some hidden survival strategies. Being bright yellow and swimming around with no discernible plan isn’t going to keep you alive very long. It’s swapped the usual fish strategy of being fast or spiky for something different.

Toxic Terrors?

Don’t cancel your Phuket scuba diving trip just yet but yellow boxfish can indeed release toxins into the surrounding water. The ocean equivalent of a skunk but with added death. It won’t harm you (unless you eat it) but can quite literally turn life belly up for any potential predators. The toxin (pahutoxin) works in a truly horrible way. The yellow boxfish releases a cloud of pain from all over its body that can burst red blood cells. You’re not going to see randomly exploding fish on your Phuket scuba diving tour (would be cool though), the toxin works by adhering to fishes gills and basically slowly strangling it to death.

Along with the toxins, the box shape is formed by bony, armour plates with holes only for fins, eyes, tail and that strange puckered mouth. So predators could lose their teeth as well as getting a mouth full of cell exploding toxins. It’s not just the yellow boxfish that has these traits. The gaudily coloured spotted boxfish can leave the same lasting impression on would be diners.

They can be extremely annoying for photographers but stressing a yellow boxfish could result in some collateral damage. It only takes one part in 10 million to asphyxiate its fishy friends. Roughly equivalent to a shot glass in an olympic size swimming pool.

Recruited By Mercedes Benz

Back in 2006, Mercedes Benz built a concept car inspired by the shape of the yellow boxfish. Even though they wisely chose not to paint it with boxfish livery, the car never made it to production. So why were Mercedes inspired by this oddball/box? Apparently the high agility and manoeuvrability of the yellow boxfish must mean its very aerodynamic and stable, apparently they were wrong… Turns out that the body is aerodynamically unstable and it’s the fin movement that corrects it all. Ah well, just a few million down the drain.

yellow boxfish inspired mercedes concept car

yellow boxfish inspired mercedes concept car

They Don’t Age Well

The incredibly cute juveniles start life as a bright yellow spotty cube but that soon changes. As they get older both males and females begin to elongate and change to a more blue/grey colour with just a hint of yellow. As Juveniles they tend to hide in reefs with plenty of get away holes, as adults they prefer more exposed rocky areas. We’d like to show you what the adult looks like but they’re just too ugly.

They grow on a diet of mainly algae with some sides of molluscs, crustaceans, small fish and sponges. The adults can reach up to 45cm and although we get plenty of juveniles on our local reefs, the adults are much more elusive. However you can find them all over the boulder strewn sites of the Similan Islands National Park.

You can find yellow boxfish on any of our Phuket scuba diving tours but they’re especially prevalent at Koh Doc Mai, Shark Point and Anemone Reef. They’re just one of the many fascinating creatures that Local Dive Thailand’s fantastic guides can show you. Join us anytime of the year for the best Phuket diving experience.

Contact Us Now

Posted in Rare & Peculiar Critters on .

Popular Services

Happy customer returning after an amazing scuba dive with Local Dive Thailand

PADI Scuba Diver Course

The PADI Scuba Diver Course is a great choice for those with limited time in Phuket or lack confidence in water. You'll only need two days to complete this great little course and there is no swim test involved. Although we do highly recommend that you're a confident swimmer before taking up any diving activity. The course will go over all the basic safety and problem solving skills that you require to enjoy our incredible underwater wo [...]

Find Out More
Thailand Liveaboard Manta Queen 7

Manta Queen 7

The Manta Queen 7 runs a fantastic 5 Day/5 Night safari to all the best dive sites on the west coast of Thailand. This comfortable boat accommodates 24 diving gusts in twin or 4 share air-conditioned cabins. There are plenty of showers and toilets so you're never waiting too long to clean up after the days diving. There is an air-conditioned saloon, outside shaded dining area and a sundeck, all of which are of a generous size and a popular [...]

Find Out More

Daily Schedules

M/V Kepsub Schedule

Jobs @ Local Dive Thailand

Local Dive Thailand is one of Phuket's fatest growing & most vibrant scuba diving operations, we are always looking for quality staff to join us, so feel free to have a look at our jobs listing page.

Job Listings

Contact LDT

Local Guides, Local Knowledge, Local Experiences

Don't trust your diving to amateurs or freshly minted dive guides, dive with local experienced experts from Local Dive Thailand. Our Scuba Diving Phuket Tours will take you to see the rarest of the rare critters, you will be amazed by the macro life our guides can find, in the secret places only they know. To put it in perspective, if you were going to climb Mount Everest you would certainly hire a local sherpa to lead the way & keep you safe. Diving is similar because there is absolutely no substitute for local experience & local knowledge, Local Dive Thailand's guides are Phuket's Sherpa's of the Andaman Sea!

Learn More About Us

Scuba Diving Phuket, Phi Phi & Thailand

When talking about Scuba Diving in Phuket, you should believe the hype, many seasons we have had Whale Sharks grace us on our regular and easy to reach dive sites and on a good day you can add Sea Horses, Sea Moths, Snake Eels, Frog Fish & Octopus to what you can see on any given dive and so much more. If we are heading to Phi Phi Island for the day, you can possibly see Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Black Tip Reef Sharks, also don't forget the King Cruiser, 84 meters of beautiful wreck and the most amazing reef nursery for fish and nudibranch. Local Dive Thailand day trip tours to these locations are not to be missed when you are scuba diving Phuket, get in touch with us and book an 'awesome' day of diving.

Book Your Day Trip

Related News From Local Dive Thailand

See why we are Thailand's leading scuba diving Phuket tour provider, stay up to date & watch out for news & special liveaboard offers!

Thailand Liveaboard - Deep Andaman Queen Diving Discounts & Special Offers

Deep Andaman Queen Discounts

If you don't secure your Thailand liveaboard space early then not only do you run the risk of missing out on a fantastic Similan Island adventure but you could also miss out on some great savings. Book three months in advance for any Deep Andaman Queen 2017/2018 safari and you can choose between free nitrox or free standard equipment rental and save yourself THB 2,000. So if your planning a liveaboard trip this year, do yourself a favou [...]

Read Full Story
Take A Break From Diving and Go to Wat Chalong Temple Phuket Phuket Sights & Fun

Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is the most important and the most beautiful Buddhist temple of the 29 or so located in Phuket. Just a stones throw from our office this stunning landmark is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. The temple is dedicated to an eminent monk who is believed to have assisted the citizens of Phuket overcome a Chinese tin workers rebellion in 1876. Of course being a monk he didn't fight himself but Luang Pho Cham [...]

Read Full Story
eLearning On A Phuket Diving Boat The Archives

What Is PADI elearning ?

In this digital age books are fast becoming a relic of the past, we can access all the information we need through the internet and diving is no different. 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of the PADI elearning initiative, the modern way of learning. Just as you can access your Facebook and instagramm accounts pretty much anywhere at anytime you can do the same with your dive theory and arrive on your holiday safe in the knowledge that y [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps