Animal Species:Sixspine Leatherjacket, Meuschenia freycineti (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
The colouration of Sixspine Leatherjackets change with growth. The species is endemic to Australia.
Standard Common Name
Freycinet's Leatherjacket, Grey Leatherjacket, Orange-spotted Leatherjacket, Reef Leatherjacket, Six-spine Leatherjacket, Skottowe's Leatherjacket, Variable Leatherjacket
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.
The species grows to 60 cm in length.
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.
Distribution by collection data
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.
- Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- 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.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology