Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus (White 1790)

A female Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus . Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights


Easily recognised by the rough appearance of its skin due to the relatively large scales that resemble miniature mushroom cups. Both males and females usually have a prominent dark blotch above each pectoral fin and a short black bar on the upper and lower corners of the tail.

Video of a Rough Leatherjacket at Little Manly, Sydney, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Scobinichthys granulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus (White 1790)

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Restricted to the southern half of Australia from Maroochydore (Queensland) to Shark Bay (Western Australia), including Tasmania. Inhabits estuaries, coastal embayments and nearby coastal reefs. The species commonly occurs in sea grass beds, and sometimes sponge gardens, at depths to 30 m. Small juveniles often shelter under floating seaweed.


Dorsal fin II + 26-31; Anal fin 26-29; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 11-12; Vertebrae 20.

Body rather elongate in males, oblong, of moderate depth, somewhat deeper in females, very compressed, with ventral flap of moderate to large size; caudal peduncle shallow. 

Head large, acutely pointed; eyes small; mouth very small; teeth large, central pair in each jaw pointed; gill openings in form of small slit mostly above each pectoral fin base. Skin rough to touch, each scale spinule with prominent fleshy mushroom‑like cap; lateral line difficult to detect. 

Two dorsal fins, first dorsal above eyes, consisting of prominent spine with row of barbs of moderate size along each posterolateral edge, barbs decreasing in relative size as body length increases, spine partly received into shallow to moderately deep groove when depressed, second dorsal widely separated from first, of moderate length, slightly elevated anteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposing second dorsal; caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins moderately small, rounded. Pelvic fin rudiment obvious, immovably attached to rear end of pelvis.


To 30 cm TL


Males dark brown, yellowish brown, greenish brown, bluish grey or white, usually with prominent bluish, blackish or brownish round blotch above each pectoral fin and occasionally whitish bar below this blotch; other dark blotches, dark brown spots and lines and bright blue spots and lines also generally present; forehead usually with three dark lines between eyes; caudal fin dusky with short black bar on upper and lower corners, each bar sometimes preceded by pale blotch. 

Females and juveniles pale brown to yellowish brown, with numerous darker blotches, lines and spots on head and body, round blotch above each pectoral fin usually prominent; caudal fin as in males.


Feeds in benthic invertebrates.


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Species Citation

    Balistes granulata White 1790, Journal of a voyage to New South Wales: 295. Type locality: Port Jackson, New South Wales.


    Bray, D.J. 2020


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus (White 1790)


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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37465007

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:1-30 m

    Habitat:Reef associated, seagrass beds

    Max Size:30 cm TL


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