Animal Species:Sixspine Leatherjacket, Meuschenia freycineti (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)

The colouration of Sixspine Leatherjackets change with growth.  The species is endemic to Australia.

Standard Common Name

Sixspine Leatherjacket

Alternative Name/s

Freycinet's Leatherjacket, Grey Leatherjacket, Orange-spotted Leatherjacket, Reef Leatherjacket, Six-spine Leatherjacket, Skottowe's Leatherjacket, Variable Leatherjacket

Identification

Male Sixspine Leatherjackets are usually blue with yellow blotches. There are blue lines and dots on the head and below the dorsal and anal fins.

Females are pale green, yellow or brown and usually have three to five broad brown stripes.

The colour pattern can be variable. Fish across the distribution can look quite different.

Both sexes have five to eight spines on the caudal peduncle, those of male fish are longer.

Size range

The species grows to 60 cm in length.

Distribution

The Sixspine Leatherjacket is endemic to Australia. It occurs in southern Australian waters from northern New South Wales to Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Meuschenia freycineti

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Sixspine Leatherjacket specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

Juveniles are found in shallow water, commonly in seagrass beds. Adults are found on coastal and offshore reefs, to depths of 50 m or more.

Classification

Species:
freycineti
Genus:
Meuschenia
Family:
Monacanthidae
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Hutchins, J.B. in Gomon, M.F, Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Six-spine Leatherjacket, Meuschenia freycineti, Monacanthidae, blue, flatfish, 30 cm - 1 m, blotches, stripes, seagrass, marine, yellow blotches, blue lines and dots,