The Fantail Leatherjacket is generally has light to medium brown tones but is able to alter to a darker to blend in with certain environments.
The Fantail Leatherjacket can be recognised by the large skin flap on the belly, the concave snout profile, the caudal filament, and by the triangular profile of the back.
It is cream to brown with brown blotches and mottling on the body, and brown bands on the caudal fin. When swimming above mussel beds, or crinoids, it can assume a dark colouration.
It occurs in depths from 5 m to 50 m. It is commonly seen by divers in rocky and weedy areas, but is also caught in deeper waters by trawlers.
The Fantail Leatherjacket occurs throughout the Western Pacific.
In Australia it is known from tropical and temperate waters from south-western Western Australia, around the north of the country and south to the southern coast of New South Wales.
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.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
- Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
- 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. 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.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.