The Potbelly Leatherjacket is a large leatherjacket that usually lives in deeper waters although it is occasionally seen by divers.
The Potbelly Leatherjacket is pale brown to greenish brown with many darker spots and blotches on its body. The spots become more numerous and relatively smaller with increasing body length.
It has a convex snout profile and a long caudal fin, although this becomes relatively shorter in very large individuals. Its belly flap can be enlarged downwards, making the fish appear much deeper in the body than it really is (hence the common name). Males have a row of two or three enlarged scale spines on the lower half of the caudal peduncle.
The Potbelly Leatherjacket occurs in tropical marine waters of Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is usually found on trawling grounds but sometimes photographed near coastal reefs.
In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and down the east coast to northern New South Wales. The fish from Julian Rocks (see images on right) are the most southerly known occurrences of this species. It had previously been recorded in published literature as far south as southern Queensland.
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.
- 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.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.