Ocean Jacket, Nelusetta ayraud Click to enlarge image
An Ocean Jacket, Nelusetta ayraud, at a depth of 10 m at Clifton Gardens, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, October 2015. Image: Nick Dawkins
© Nick Dawkins

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    ayraud
    Genus
    Nelusetta
    Family
    Monacanthidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species can reach 1 m in length and a weight of over 3 kg.

Introduction

The Ocean Jacket is commonly encountered by fishers on offshore reefs. This species is notorious for attacking hooked fish, the bare hook itself or even unwary divers!



Identification

Juvenile Ocean Jackets are white with brown stripes and yellow fins. Adults tend to be a solid brown or yellow colour.

The species name 'ayraud' is often writen in error as 'ayraudi'.

Distribution

The Ocean Jacket is endemic to Australian waters, and can be found along the southern coastline from southern Queensland to central 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.



Feeding and diet

A voracious predator, the Ocean Jacket has been known to attack fish much larger than themselves. The species feeds on crustaceans and fishes. Their razor sharp teeth slice chunks out of their prey. One individual Ocean Jacket that was caught off Wollongong was found to have eaten an entire 25 cm long stingray (Sascha Schulz pers. comm.)



Conservation status

The Ocean Jacket is the major component of commercial leatherjacket catches in New South Wales waters.

References

  1. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Hutchins, B. & M. Thompson. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 103.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.