The Rusty Jobfish is an elongate species with a large lunate tail. It has a large mouth with a protruding lower jaw and minute teeth. The long-based dorsal fin is not deeply incised at the junction of the spinous and soft-rayed portions. The last ray of both the dorsal and anal fins is elongated. Body colour varies from blue-grey to mauve or reddish.
The Rusty Jobfish resembles the Smalltooth Jobfish, Aphareus furca . The two species can be separated based on colour and gill raker counts. The Smalltooth Jobfish is steel-blue to purplish brown. It has 6 to 12 gill rakers on the upper limb (vs. 16 to 19 in the Rusty Jobfish) and 15 to 18 on the lower limb (vs. 32 to 35).
The species occurs in coral reef and inshore waters of the tropical Indo-west and Central Pacific.
In Australia it is known from off north-western Western Australia and northern Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.Ozcam map of Rusty Jobfish specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Aphareus%20rutilans &zoom=off#mapView
- Anderson, W.D.Jnr & G.R. Allen. 2001. Lutjanidae. 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 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-iv, 2791-3379.
- 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.