Bearded Leatherjacket, Anacanthus barbatus Click to enlarge image
A Bearded Leatherjacket at a depth of 5 m, Bowen, Queensland, 02 April 2013. Image: Phil Mercurio
© Phil Mercurio

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    barbatus
    Genus
    Anacanthus
    Family
    Monacanthidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 35 cm in length.

Introduction

At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that this species was a not a Leatherjacket. Its elongate, compressed head and body combined with the 'beard' on its lower jaw give it a most un-leatherjacket-like appearance.



Identification

The Bearded Leatherjacket can be recognised by its elongate, compressed head and body. The mouth opens on the upper side of the very long snout. There is a barbel on the lower jaw. The dorsal and anal fins are long-based.


Anacanthus barbatus
Anacanthus barbatus Image: M. McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Habitat

The species occurs primarily in inshore tropical waters, often over sandy substrates amongst seaweed and seawhips.

Distribution

It is known from the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.

In Australia it is found 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.



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, J.B., 2001 Monacanthidae. Filefishes (leatherjackets). in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.