Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
Ostraciontidae (boxfish, cowfish; subclass Actinopterygii, order Tetraodontiformes) A family of marine fish in which the body is enclosed in a hard, bony shell or carapace. Special openings are provided to accommodate the various fins. Rather slow-moving fish, they are well represented in tropical and subtropical waters, with many species entering estuaries. Ostracion lentiginosum (boxfish), which grows to 23 cm, and many other species are thought to discharge a toxic substance capable of killing other fish kept in the same aquarium. There are about 24 species, distributed world-wide.