Spectacled Leatherjacket, Cantherhines fronticinctus (Günther 1866)

Other Names: Spectacled Filefish

A Spectacled Leatherjacket, Cantherhines fronticinctus, at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, November 2016. Source: David R / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A mottled pale greyish to yellowish-brown leatherjacket with white bar on the caudal peduncle, rows of dark blotches that may form indisctinct stripes along the side, a dark patch on the body at the top rear of the pectoral fin, a dark mask between the eyes, and an iridescent blue ring around the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Cantherhines fronticinctus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/797

Spectacled Leatherjacket, Cantherhines fronticinctus (Günther 1866)

More Info


Shark Bay to the North West Shelf, Western Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Nelson Bay, New South Wales, with juveniles south to at least Shellharbour; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific, from East Africa across to Indonesia and Australia, north to southern Japan and eastwards to Tonga.
Inhabits harbours and seaward reefs, usually near shelter in areas with rich coral and invertebrate growth.


Dorsal fin II + 33-36; Anal fin 31-32; Pectoral fin 12-14; Gill rakers 29-37; Vertebrae 7+12.

Body depth at anal-fin origin 2.0-2.3 in SL, snout length 3.4-3.8 in SL.

First dorsal-fin spine relatively long, length 1.1-1.4 in HL, originating above anterior half of eye, covered in small spines with a row of very small barbs along each posterolateral edge, spine folding into a moderately deep groove when depressed. Second dorsal and anal fins about equal in height, not elevated anteriorly. Caudal fin relatively long, length 1.3-1.6 in HL, rear margin rounded; Pelvic-fin rudiment small, 3.2-4.1 times in orbit diameter, with three pairs of scales fused to rear end of pelvis.

Scales small, each with rows of minute slender spinules giving the skin a velvety texture; males with an elongate patch of fine bristles on either side of the caudal peduncle.


Body overall pale greyish-brown with 5 indistinct brown lines comprised of blotches converging on tail base. Tail base encircled with a pale bar followed by a dark brown band; pectoral fin with a large dark brown blotch below tip, a broad dark band above front of eye; eye encircled by an iridescent blue line; caudal fin pale yellowish-orange with a broad dark brown border.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates.


The specific name fronticinctus is from the Latin frontis (= forehead) and cinctus (= band, belt) in reference to the dark band between the front of the eyes of this species.

Species Citation

Monacanthus fronticinctus Günther in Playfair & Günther 1866, Fish. Zanzibar: 136, pl. 19, fig. 2. Type locality: Zanzibar.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Spectacled Leatherjacket, Cantherhines fronticinctus (Günther 1866)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Davis, T. 2016. First records of three fishes, and southern records of a further four fishes, from New South Wales, Australia. Check List 12(6): 1-6. https://doi.org/10.15560/12.6.2008 

Francis, M. 2022. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. December 2022. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.21563766.v2

Günther, A. in Playfair, R.L. & Günther, A. 1866. The Fishes of Zanzibar. London : John van Voorst 146 pp. 21 pls. 

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. 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. 2001. Monacanthidae. pp. 3929-3947 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Randall, J.E. 1982. Cantherhines longicaudus, a new filefish from Oceania, with a review of the species of the C. fronticinctus complex. Pacific Science 36(2): 175-185. http://hdl.handle.net/10125/418

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Matsuura, K. 1981. Record of a filefish, Cantherhines fronticinctus, from Honshu, Japan. Memoirs of the Ntional Science Museum 14: 167-171.

Matsuura, K. 2015. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyology Research 62: 72-113.

Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H. 2016. Cantherhines fronticinctus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T70010111A70011774. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T70010111A70011774.en. Downloaded on 14 January 2017.

Randall, J.E. 1964. A revision of the filefish genera Amanses and Cantherhines. Copeia 1964(2): 331-361 figs 1-18

Randall, J.E. 2011. Review of the circumtropical monacanthid fish genus Cantherhines, with descriptions of two new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 40: 1-30.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465041

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-42 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

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