Animal Species:Unicorn Leatherjacket, Aluterus monoceros (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Unicorn Leatherjacket is usually brown to grey with brown spots on the upper sides and a dark caudal fin. It can be recognised by its highly compressed body and the posterior placement of the eyes on the head.

A Unicorn Leatherjacket at Fly Point Marine Reserve, Port Stephens

David and Leanne Atkinson © David and Leanne Atkinson

Standard Common Name

Unicorn Leatherjacket

Identification

The Unicorn Leatherjacket can be recognised by its highly compressed body and the posterior placement of the eyes on the head. The dorsal and ventral head profiles are both convex. The dorsal fin spine is slender.

The species is usually brown to grey with brown spots on the upper sides. The caudal fin is dark.

Two species of Aluterus occur in Australian waters. The second is the Scribbled Leatherjacket.

Size range

The species grows to 75 cm in length.

Distribution

The Unicorn Leatherjacket occurs worldwide.

In Australia it is known from south-western Western Australia around the tropical north of the country and south to the central coast of New South Wales.

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.

Aluterus monoceros

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Unicorn Leatherjacket specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species occurs in tropical marine waters.

Classification

Species:
monoceros
Genus:
Aluterus
Family:
Monacanthidae
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Unicorn Leatherjacket, Aluterus monoceros, brown, grey, blue, compressed body, 30 cm - 1 m, dots/spots, marine, tropical,