Spinytail Leatherjacket, Acanthaluteres brownii (Richardson 1846)

Other Names: Spiny-tail Leatherjacket, Spiny-tailed Leatherjacket

A Spinytail Leatherjacket, Acanthaluteres brownii, at night in Encounter Bay, South Australia, January 2012. Source: David Muirhead / MLSSA. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Males are green to yellowish-green with numerous blue lines breaking up into spots on the midside, a yellow patch around the spines on the caudal peduncle, a blackish to brownish-orange patch of bristles on the side, and green second dorsal, anal and caudal fin rays. Females are overall brownish-grey with the blue lines mostly reduced to spots.
Video of Spinytail Leatherjackets at Carrickalinga, Gulf St Vincent, South Australia. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Acanthaluteres brownii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Sep 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/789

Spinytail Leatherjacket, Acanthaluteres brownii (Richardson 1846)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia from Kangaroo Island and Rapid Head, South Australia, westwards to Lancelin Island, Western Australia, and possibly north to Shark Bay. 
Inhabits sheltered inshore reefs and adjacent seagrass meadows in bays and coastal waters.


Dorsal fin II + 31-34; Anal fin 29-31; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 10-11.  
Body oblong, of moderate depth, very compressed, with a small ventral flap; caudal peduncle shallow. Head large, broadly pointed; eyes small; mouth very small; teeth large, central pair in each jaw pointed, in single row; gill openings in form of small slit mostly above each pectoral fin base. 
Skin smooth to touch; two pairs of spines on each side of caudal peduncle, spines enlarged, curved forwards and preceded by dense patch of short bristles in adult males, small in adult females and juveniles; lateral line difficult to detect.
Two dorsal fins, first dorsal above eyes, consisting of prominent four edged spine with row of downward directed barbs along each edge, spine wholly received into deep spinal groove when depressed, second dorsal widely separated from first, of moderate length, outer margin slightly convex in males and females; anal fin similar to and opposing second dorsal, not elevated anteriorly; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins moderately small, rounded. Pelvic fins reduced to a small but obvious rudiment, immovably attached to rear end of pelvis.

Species Citation

Aluterius? brownii Richardson 1846, Voy. Erebus and Terror: 68. Type locality: Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Spinytail Leatherjacket, Acanthaluteres brownii (Richardson 1846)


Castelnau, F.L. de 1878. Australian fishes, new or little known species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(3): 225-248 pls 1-2 (as Monacanthus yagoi)

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp. 

Hollard, H.L. 1854. Monographie de la famille des balistides. Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Paris 4 2: 321-366 3 figs (as Monacanthus lineoguttatus)

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 figs 1-13 (as Bigener brownii)

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. Family Monacanthidae. pp. 866-891 figs 767-787 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Monacanthidae. pp. 822-841 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. (as Bigener brownii

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Macleay, W.J. 1878. Descriptions of some new fishes from Port Jackson and King George's Sound. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(1): 33-37 pls 2-5 (as Monacanthus guttulatus)

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 1. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(3): 302-444 (as ?Monacanthus castelnaui)

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. (as Bigener brownii

Richardson, J. 1846. Ichthyology. 53-74 pls 31-41, 43-44 & 53 (part) in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2 139 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465001

Depth:0-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated, seagrass

Max Size:46 cm TL


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