Barred Leatherjacket, Cantherhines dumerilii (Hollard 1854)

Other Names: Barred Filefish, Dumeril's Leatherjacket, Whitespotted Filefish, Yelloweye Filefish, Yelloweye Leatherjacket

A Barred Leatherjacket, Cantherhines dumerilii, at Neds Beach, Lord Howe Island. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

Adults are brownish to bluish-grey with indistinct darker bars on the rear half of the body, yellowish dorsal, anal and caudal fins, a bright yellow iris, a blackish gill opening, a dark brown pectoral-fin base. The dark greyish juveniles are covered in white spots, and have a yellow iris and yellow fins. Barred Leatherjackets have two pairs of anteriorly-directed yellow spines on the caudal peduncle that are larger in males.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Cantherhines dumerilii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Jul 2020,

Barred Leatherjacket, Cantherhines dumerilii (Hollard 1854)

More Info


Widespread in the Red Sea and tropical Indo-Pacific. Known in Australian waters from about Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, around the tropical north to about Bass Point, New South Wales, with juveniles as far south as Beware Reef in eastern Victoria; also in the Coral Sea, at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, and at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. 
The Barred Leatherjacket usually inhabits coral reefs in depths of  0-40 metres.


Greyish to yellowish brown with about 12 vertical dark brown bars, lips whitish; fins pale yellowish; caudal fin orange with dusky rays. Adult males have deep orange spines on the tail base, and a more orange caudal fin.


Carnivore - feeding mostly on on hard corals. Randall (2011) reported that stomach contents also contained sponges, echinoids, bryozoans, molluscs and algae.


Little is known of the biology of the Barred Leatherjacket. The sexes are separate and males and females are often seen in pairs. Fertilisation is external, and females produce pelagic eggs. 

Similar Species

Differs from the other Australian species of the genus Cantherhines, in having two pairs of prominent spines on the side of the tail base (spines very small in juveniles) and 14-15 pectoral-fin rays. Both Cantherhines longicaudus and Cantherhines pardalis lack spines on the tail base, and usually have 12-13 pectoral-fin rays.
C. longicaudus has a yellowish body, and C. pardalis has brown spots in a honeycomb pattern.

Species Citation

Monacanthus dumerilii Hollard 1854, Ann. Sci. Nat., Paris 4 2: 361. Type locality: Mauritius.


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Barred Leatherjacket, Cantherhines dumerilii (Hollard 1854)


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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

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

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.). Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Hollard, H.L. 1854. Monographie de la famille des balistides. Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Paris 4 2: 321-366 3 figs

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. 1986. Monacanthidae. In, Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 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.

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.

Hutchins, J.B., Williams, D.McB., Newman, S.J., Cappo, M. & Speare, P. 1995. New records of fishes for the Rowley Shoals and Scott/Seringapatam Reefs, off north-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17: 119-123.

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)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Ogilby, J.D. 1889. The reptiles and fishes of Lord Howe Island. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 2(3): 51-74 pls 2-3 (p. 73, as Monacanthus howensis sp. nov.) PDF Open access

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Thompson, A.A. 2003. Marine surveys undertaken in the Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve, March-April 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science 59 pp.

Oxley, W.G., Emslie, M., Muir, P. & Thompson, A.A. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, March 2004. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science i-vii, 1-67 pp.

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, Pls. 1-7.

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.

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465050

Depth:0-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:38 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map