Sixspine Leatherjacket, Meuschenia freycineti Click to enlarge image
A male Sixspine Leatherjacket at a depth of 14 m, Montague Island, New South Wales, January 2000. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    freycineti
    Genus
    Meuschenia
    Family
    Monacanthidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 60 cm in length.

Introduction

The colouration of Sixspine Leatherjackets change with growth. The species is endemic to Australia.



Identification

Male Sixspine Leatherjackets are usually blue with yellow blotches. There are blue lines and dots on the head and below the dorsal and anal fins.

Females are pale green, yellow or brown and usually have three to five broad brown stripes.

The colour pattern can be variable. Fish across the distribution can look quite different.

Both sexes have five to eight spines on the caudal peduncle, those of male fish are longer.

Habitat

Juveniles are found in shallow water, commonly in seagrass beds. Adults are found on coastal and offshore reefs, to depths of 50 m or more.

Distribution

The Sixspine Leatherjacket is endemic to Australia. It occurs in southern Australian waters from northern New South Wales to 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.



References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. 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.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.