Stars-and-stripes Leatherjacket, Meuschenia venusta Hutchins 1977

Other Names: Beautiful Leatherjacket, Stars And Stripes Leatherjacket

Male and female Stars-and-stripes Leatherjackets, Meuschenia venusta. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

Males and females differ in colour pattern. The pale brown to whitish males have 4-5 spotted brown stripes along sides, narrow brown stripes on head, brown spots on top of the snout and below the eye, and a yellowish to whitish caudal fin with upper and lower edges blackish with white spots. Females are generally overall more brownish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Meuschenia venusta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Jul 2020,

Stars-and-stripes Leatherjacket, Meuschenia venusta Hutchins 1977

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Endemic to southern Australia from Port Stephens (New South Wales) to Shark Bay (Western Australia), excluding Tasmania. Mostly inhabits deep coastal and offshore reefs, often around sponges, although occasionally seen in shallower waters, especially on reefs near steep drop-offs. Juveniles usually shelter amongst macroalgae.


Dorsal fin II, 34; Anal fin 31-33; Caudal fin 12: Pectoral fin 12-13.

Body rather elongate in males, oblong, of moderate depth, somewhat deeper in females, very compressed, with a small ventral flap; caudal peduncle shallow.  Head large, acutely pointed; eyes small; mouth very small; teeth large, central pair in both jaws pointed; gill openings in form of small slit mostly above each pectoral fin base. Skin rough to touch; no spines or bristles on caudal peduncle; lateral line difficult to detect. 

Two dorsal fins, first dorsal above eyes, consisting of prominent spine with very small to minute barbs, spine partly received into shallow groove when depressed, second dorsal widely separated from first, of moderate length, moderately elevated anteriorly in males, outer margin slightly convex and not elevated anteriorly in females; anal fin similar to and opposing second dorsal; caudal fin truncate to convex. Pectoral fins moderately small, rounded. Pelvic fins rudimentary, rudiment obvious, fused to rear end of pelvis.

Species Citation

Meuschenia venusta Hutchins, 1977, Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 5(1): 45. Type locality: Shark Bay, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Stars-and-stripes Leatherjacket, Meuschenia venusta Hutchins 1977


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. 

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

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island, pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd edn. Perth : Aqua Research &​ Monitoring Service.

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 

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. 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.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. University of Hawaii Press. Honolulu, Hawaii. 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 437 pp.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465060

Depth:5-100 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:21 cm TL


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