Blackhead Leatherjacket, Pervagor melanocephalus (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: Blackheaded Leatherjacket, Black-headed Leatherjacket, Black-headed Leather-jacket, Dark-headed Leatherjacket

A Blackhead Leatherjacket, Pervagor melanocephalus, at Vanguna Island, Solomon Islands. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Head and anterior body blackish-brown to bluish-black, rest of the body orange, with a black blotch surrounding the gill opening and pectoral-fin base, and wavy dark blue to blackish lines on the orange-red caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Pervagor melanocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Blackhead Leatherjacket, Pervagor melanocephalus (Bleeker 1853)

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Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and Osprey Reef, Coral Sea, to the Capricorn Group, Queensland. Found elsewhere in the tropical, west Pacific. The distribution of this species is uncertain due to the misidentifications.


Dorsal fin I-II, 30-33; Anal fin 27-30. 
Pelvic rudiment large not broadly attached to posterior margin of ventral flap. Scale ridge rugosities of male usually develop at about 6.5 cm SL. Scale spinulation on midbody not closely packed.

Species Citation

Monacanthus melanocephalus Bleeker, 1853, Natuurwetensch. Tijdschr. Nederland. Indiƫ 5: 95. Type locality: Lawajong, Solor, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Blackhead Leatherjacket, Pervagor melanocephalus (Bleeker 1853)


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.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Solor. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indiƫ 5: 67-96.

Hutchins, J.B. 1986. Review of the monacanthid fish genus Pervagor, with descriptions of two new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 12: 1-35 11 figs 2 pls

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.

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

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.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Swainston, R. 2011. Swainston's Fishes of Australia: The complete illustrated guide. Camberwell, Victoria : Penguin Australia 836 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465069

Depth:3-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map