Brownstriped Leatherjacket, Meuschenia australis (Donovan 1824)

Other Names: Brown-striped Leatherjacket, Donovan's Leatherjacket, Southern Leatherjacket, White-banded Leatherjacket

A female Brownstriped Leatherjacket, Meuschenia australis, in the Derwent Estuary, Hobart, Tasmania. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution


Males are greenish to yellowish-brown often with a yellowish head, a blue throat, a blue pectoral-fin base, a blue or pink line along the back and along the anal-fin base, bluish-green fin rays, and a bluish tail with a prominent black margin. Females and juveniles have 4-5 broad dark stripes along the side, dark brown spots on head and abdomen, body, and a dusky margin on the tail.

The Brownstriped Leatherjacket has no spines or bristles on the caudal peduncle, unlike the similar Six-spine Leatherjacket, Meuschenia freycineti.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Meuschenia australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Brownstriped Leatherjacket, Meuschenia australis (Donovan 1824)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia from Wilsons Promontory (Victoria) and Tasmania, to Robe (South Australia). Inhabits coastal reefs, and is occasionally taken by bottom trawls. Although common on kelp-covered coastal reefs in Tasmania, this species is much rarer on the mainland.


Dorsal fin II, 33-37; Anal fin 31-36; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 12-14.

Body somewhat elongate, oblong, of moderate depth, very compressed, with small ventral flap; caudal peduncle shallow. Head large, broadly 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 coarse 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 small barbs, spine partly received into shallow groove when depressed, second dorsal widely separated from first, of moderate length, outer margin slightly convex, not elevated anteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposing second dorsal; caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins moderately small, rounded. Pelvic fins rudimentary, rudiment obvious, immovably attached to rear end of pelvis.


Males have a yellow-green body, blue line below the dorsal fin, blue tail with a black margin, and bluish green dorsal and anal fins. Females have a pattern of brown stripes along the body similar to those on sixspine leatherjackets, but with dark spots on the belly and head. The brownstriped leatherjacket is uncommon on the Australian mainland but is commonly seen on kelp-covered Tasmanian reefs.

Species Citation

Balistes australis Donovan, 1824, Natur. Reposit. 3: pl. 76. Type locality: Van Diemens Land ( Tasmania).


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Brownstriped Leatherjacket, Meuschenia australis (Donovan 1824)


Donovan, E. 1824. The Naturalist's Repository; or monthly miscellany of exotic natural history. London Vol. 3 unnumbered pages pls 73–108. 

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

Günther, A. 1870. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Physostomi, containing the families Gymnotidae, Symbranchidae, Muraenidae, Pegasidae, and of the Lophobranchii, Plectognathi, Dipnoi, [thru] Leptocardii, in the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 8 549 pp. (as Monacanthus convexirostris)

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. 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. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. 

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. 

Richardson, J. 1840. On some new species of fishes from Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 8: 25-30 (as Monacanthus rudis)

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

Whitley, G.P. 1930. Leatherjacket genera. The Australian Zoologist 6(2): 179 (as Navodon australis)

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127 (as Navodon australis amd Allomonacanthus convexirostris)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465008

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL


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