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

A somewhat elongate leatherjacket with a pointed snout 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. 2021, Meuschenia venusta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Stars-and-stripes Leatherjacket, Meuschenia venusta Hutchins 1977

More Info


Endemic to and widespread in southern Australia from Port Stephens (New South Wales) to Shark Bay (Western Australia), including the Kent Group in Bass Strait, 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 and sometimes in seagrass beds.


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.


The specific name is from the Latin venustus (= beautiful) in reference to the vivid coloration of this species.

Species Citation

Meuschenia venusta Hutchins, 1977, Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 5(1): 45. Type locality: Shark Bay, 25°30'S, 115°39'E, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


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.

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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 See ref online

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.

Jelbart, J.E., Ross, P.M. & Connolly, R.M. 2007. Patterns of small fish distributions in seagrass beds in a temperate Australian estuary. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 87: 1297-1307.  

Jelbart, J.E., Ross, P.M. & Connolly, R.M. 2007. Fish assemblages in seagrass beds are influenced by the proximity of mangrove forests. Marine Biology 150(5): 993-1002.

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.

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

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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.

Shepherd, S.A. & Brook, J.B. 2003. Encounter 2002 expedition to the Isles of St Francis, South Australia: reef fishes. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 127(2): 269-279

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465060

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-100 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:21 cm TL


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