Bristle-tail Leatherjacket, Acreichthys tomentosus (Linnaeus 1758)

Other Names: Banded Leather-jacket, Bristletail Filefish, Bristle-tail File-fish, Bristle-tailed Leatherjacket, Matted Leatherjacket

A Bristle-tail Leatherjacket, Acreichthys tomentosus, at Mactan, Cebu, Philippines. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

A green to brown leatherjacket with irregular darker green to brown blotching, usually with whitish bands or irregular stripes through the eye, on the midside and on the back. 
The Bristle-tail Leatherjacket has short skin flaps on the dorsal-fin spine, and scattered skin-flaps on the body. Males have an oblong patch of bristles on the caudal peduncle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Acreichthys tomentosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024,

Bristle-tail Leatherjacket, Acreichthys tomentosus (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Groote Eylandt, Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, and the Torres Strait islands to Moreton Bay, Queensland; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific from Sri Lanka to New Caledonia and Japan.
Inhabits sheltered reefs, where it is commonly seen amongst seagrass in depths to 15 m.


Dorsal fin II + 26-30; Anal fin 25-29; Pectoral fin 10-13.
Origin of first dorsal fin above eye; dorsal profile of head concave; first dorsal-fin spine and pelvic-fin rudiment robust with prominent barbs; males with a well-defined, oblong patch of bristles on the caudal peduncle. 


Feeds on benthic invertebrates such as small crustaceans, polychaete worms and molluscs.


The specific name is from the Latin tomentosus (= covered in closely matted hairs), presumably in reference to the patch of bristles on the caudal peduncle of males.

Species Citation

Balistes tomentosus Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae, ed. X(1): 328. Type locality: America (in error).


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Bristle-tail Leatherjacket, Acreichthys tomentosus (Linnaeus 1758)


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.

Ambo-Rappe, R., Nessa, M., Latucondina, H. & Lajus, D. 2013. Relationship between the tropical seagrass bed characteristics and the structure of the associated fish community. Scientific Research 3(5): 331-342.

Fraser-Brunner, A. 1941. Notes on the plectognath fishes. VI. A synopsis of the genera of the family Aluteridae, and descriptions of seven new species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 11 8(16): 176-199 figs 1-9

Gumanao, G.S., Bos, A.R. & Randall, J.E. 2018. The Seagrass Filefish, Acreichthys tomentosus (Linnaeus), a master of camouflage. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 30: 48-64.

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae, ed. X. Holmiae. v. 1: i-ii + 1-824  

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Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundem classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tomus I 824 pp. 

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

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 DOI: 10.1007/s10228-014-0444-5 PDF available, open access.  

Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H. 2016. Acreichthys tomentosus. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69921254A115473596. Downloaded on 03 July 2017.  

Peristiwady, T. & Geistdoerfer, P. 1991. Biological aspects of Monacanthus tomentosus (Monacanthidae) in the seagrass beds of Kotania Bay, West Seram, Moluccas, Indonesia. Marine Biology 109: 135-139.  

Tyler, J. & Lange, M. 1982. Redescription of the Indo-Australian Filefish Acreichthys radiatus (Popta). American Museum Novitates 2727: 1-14. Open access

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465042

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-15 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11.5 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map