Velvet Leatherjacket, Meuschenia scaber (Forster 1801)


Other Names: Cosmopolitan Leatherjacket, Cream Fish, Kokiri, Scaber Leatherjacket

A Velvet Leatherjacket, Meuschenia scaber, at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, New Zealand. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

Summary:

A pale brown, greyish, or whitish leatherjacket, usually with large dark blotches, and 2-3 dark diagonal bars radiating forward from the eye to the underside of the head. Males have a narrow blackish submarginal bar on the tail.

The common name Velvet Leatherjacket refers to the scales which have many tiny spinules, giving this species a velvety appearance.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Meuschenia scaber in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Sep 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/809

Velvet Leatherjacket, Meuschenia scaber (Forster 1801)

More Info


Distribution

Southern half of Australia, from Sydney, New South Wales, to Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia, and around Tasmania; also at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the temperate, south-west Pacific (New Zealand including Chatham Islands and Kermadec Islands).

Although Velvet Leatherjackets usually inhabit deeper macroalgal-covered reefs, they occasionally enter bays and estuaries, especially as juveniles. Individuals are also seen on shallow coastal reefs; depth range 2-200 m.

Features

Dorsal fin spines/rays II,  28-32; Anal fin rays 31-36; Caudal fin rays 12; Pectoral fin rays 12-14; Vertebrae 20.
Body oblong, moderately deep, with a prominent first dorsal-fin spine above the rear of the eye, a small to moderate ventral flap and no spines or bristles on the tail base.

Size

To 32 cm

Colour

Pale brown, greyish, or white, usually with large dark blotches, and 2-3 dark bars from eye to underside of head; tail of male with a thin blackish cross-bar near hind margin.

Feeding

Feeds on benthic invertebrates, and has also been observed feeding on zooplankton above the bottom.

Fisheries

Often taken as by-catch in trawls, especially in the inshore bottom trawl fishery in New Zealand.

Remarks

Velvet Leatherjackets may be aggressive, and are known to bite divers' fingers.

Etymology

The specific name is from the Latin scaber (= rough), presumably in reference to the rough texture of the skin of this species.

Species Citation

Balistes scaber Forster in Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae : 477. Type locality: Pacific Ocean (= Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand).

Author

Bray, D.J. 2019

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Velvet Leatherjacket, Meuschenia scaber (Forster 1801)

References


  • Ayling, T. & Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins Guide to the Seafishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Collins 343 pp. 48 pls 475 figs. 
  • Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp.
  • Forster, J.R. in Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls. See ref at BHL
  • Francis, M. 2001. Coastal Fishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Reed Publishing (NZ) 3rd edn, 103 pp.
  • Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170. 
  • 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 Parika scaber) See ref online, open access
  • 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. (as Meuschenia scabra)
  • 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. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.
  • Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.
  • Matsuura, K. 2014. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research 62(1): 72-113. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-014-0444-5, open access
  • May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 pp.
  • Poynter, M.R. 1980. The distribution and abundance of a temperate reef fish Parika scaber (Monacanthidae) with emphasis on recruitment, plus aspects of feeding ecology and growth. M.Sc. Thesis, Univ. Auckland. 65 pp.
  • Russell, B.C. 1983. The food and feeding habits of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New Zealand. N.Z. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 17(2): 121-145.
  • Stewart, A.L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. 246 Family Monacanthidae, pp. 1716-1723 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.
  • Swainston, R. 2011. Swainston's Fishes of Australia: The complete illustrated guide. Camberwell, Victoria : Penguin Australia 836 pp.
  • Visconti, V., Trip, E.D.L., Griffiths, M.H. & Clements, K.D. 2018. Life-history traits of the leatherjacket Meuschenia scaber, a long-lived monacanthid. Journal of Fish Biology 92(2): 470-486. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.13529
  • Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31 (as Monacanthus setosus)
  • Whitley, G.P. 1955. Sidelights on New Zealand Ichthyology. The Australian Zoologist 12(2): 110-119 fig. 6 (as Parika scabra)
  • Williams, A., Last, P.R., Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1996. Species composition and checklist of the demersal ichthyofauna of the continental slope off Western Australia (20–35º). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 135-155
  • Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.
  • Quick Facts


    CAAB Code:37465005

    Depth:2-200 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:32 cm

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