Why are boxfish…box-shaped?

What a great question: Why are boxfish…box-shaped? The answer is: evolution!

Let’s elaborate, using the yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus), who we see frequently in Tulamben’s coral reefs, as an example. It’s actually not so much a box shape, as it is hexagon. Over millions of years, the family of boxfish evolved to best survive, which meant better swimming technique; faster propulsion to steer clear of its natural predators. So its bones began to form an almost hexagonal mosaic-like structure to increase swimming agility. It’s always a surprise to our PADI Pro Divers how fast boxfish can actually move and change direction underwater when trying to ‘snap’ a picture of this critter! Two edges of the hexagon-shaped skeleton of the fish are more pronounced, and act as ‘keels’, such as that on boats. It’s propelling movement is also akin to sailing – with a pronounced dorsal fin that is raised and lowered for optimum control…just like the main sail of a boat!

Could it be that boxfish inspired the beginnings of mankind’s world exploration of our seas and oceans? It’s not that surprising that such grand ideas can come from such humble beginnings! Experience the world of SCUBA in our modern day, and witness its evolution when you certify as PADI Divemaster at Bali Dream Divers and join us in our dive lifestyle! Contact the ‘Dream Team’ to arrange the best ‘Stay & Dive’ package to Go PRO in Tulamben, Bali!


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