Why can the golden box puffer fish swim with a square, box-shaped body?

Why can the golden box puffer fish swim with a square, box-shaped body? 3

The yellow fish with black spots shaped like a square box you are seeing has the scientific name Ostracion cubicus, commonly known as round-backed pufferfish or yellow pufferfish.

The body color is bright yellow, there are round black spots all over the body, the whole body of the fish is like a box with black spots on a yellow background.

When attacked or threatened, the skin of the golden box puffer fish will release a characteristic neurotoxin Ostracitoxin.

Most fish species have soft, elongated bodies adapted to the water environment, allowing them to swim comfortably.

However, what no one expected was that although it looks slow, the golden box puffer fish is extremely agile, it can almost be considered one of the most agile fish in the coral reef area.

In 2002, a group of researchers used a 3D printed model of the box pufferfish to study how water flows around their bodies.

This skillful survival technique is important for reducing water disturbance and maintaining stability in strong currents.

However, the researchers seem to have overlooked one detail: If the vortex around the golden box puffer’s skeleton can give it directional stability, it can also be said that this fish is dependent on

Furthermore, according to research staff’s observations, the golden box puffer fish is very flexible. When in danger, it will quickly turn around and swim into the coral reef to escape.

Research by S. Van Wassenbergh and colleagues in 2015 challenged the previous vortex theory, arguing that the influence of these eddies is canceled out by the torque generated in front of the boxy skeleton

The reason why yellow box pufferfish are so flexible is because they use their dorsal, pectoral, and tail fins to flip quickly to help their body maintain a stable position in flowing water, similar to how a helicopter maintains a stable position in flowing water.

That is to say, the golden box pufferfish’s agility is created by a combination of its aerodynamically unstable body and the way its fins move.

Seeing this, some people may ask, how does this fish normally swim with its boxy body?

The pectoral fins and pelvic fins can maintain the fish’s balance in the water. Unlike other fins, the pectoral fins are not vertical but horizontal, so the pectoral fins will splash water up and down during movement to help the fish.

The tail fin can not only provide more force for the fish to swim, but also help the fish change the swimming direction.

However, due to differences in habitat and behavior, the function and shape of the fins also undergo corresponding changes during the long-term evolution process.

Source: The Paper

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