Bridled Leatherjacket, Acanthaluteres spilomelanurus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
It has also been called the Golden-eyed Leatherjacket and Small Brown Leatherjacket.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.