Male Bridled Leatherjacket Click to enlarge image
A male Bridled Leatherjacket at a depth of 5 m, Fly Point Marine Reserve, Port Stephens, New South Wales, July 2006. Image: Dave Harasti
© Dave Harasti

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    spilomelanurus
    Genus
    Acanthaluteres
    Family
    Monacanthidae
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 14 cm in length.

Introduction

Usually seen in large schools or as a male and female pairing, they can be found in estuarine and inshore waters in seagrass beds and on rocky reefs.

Identification

Male Bridled Leatherjackets can be recognised by their distinctive colouration. They are greyish with blue spots on the upper and lower sides of the body. A blue line curves across the cheek to the eye and then along the side of the body. A black line curves from the chin to the dorsal margin of the snout, then to the eye. A yellow line passes along the lower side of the body to the chin. Females are pale brown to pale green with scattered dark spots. There is often a faint brown stripe from the snout, through the eye to the base of the caudal peduncle.

Female Bridled Leatherjackets resemble female Toothbrush Leatherjackets. They can be separated by a lower dorsal fin ray count (28-33, rarely over 31, versus 30-35, rarely below 32).

Habitat

The Bridled Leatherjacket is usually found in estuarine and inshore waters in seagrass beds and on rocky reefs. It is sometimes seen in large schools or as a male and female pair.

Distribution

It is endemic to Australia, occurring in temperate marine waters from the central coast of New South Wales to south-western Western Australia, including Tasmania.

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. Hutchins, J.B. 1977. Descriptions of three new genera and eight new species of monacanthid fishes from Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum. 5(1): 3-58.
  2. 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.
  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. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.