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 its 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:
Dianne J. Bray, Scobinichthys granulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Aug 2020,

Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus (White 1790)

More Info


Restricted to the southern half of Australia from Maroochydore (Queensland) to Shark Bay (Western Australia), including Tasmania. Found in inshore waters, and fairly common in seagrass beds and of estuaries, coastal embayments and nearby coastal reefs; sometimes also seen in sponge gardens. Depth range 1-30 m.  Small juveniles are often found under floating seaweed.


Dorsal fin spines/rays: II; 26-31
Anal fin spines/rays: 26-29
Caudal fin rays: 12
Pectoral fin rays: 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.


Carniovre - feeds on invertebrates.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed
  • Species Citation

    Balistes granulata Shaw, 1790, White's Voy. N.S.W.: 295

    Type locality: Port Jackson, New South Wales.


    Dianne J. Bray

    Rough Leatherjacket, Scobinichthys granulatus (White 1790)


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

    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. 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. 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. 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.

    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.

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

    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.

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

    White, J. 1790. Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales with sixty-five plates of non-descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions. London : Debrett 299 pp. 65 pls.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37465007

    Depth:1-30 m

    Habitat:Rocky reef, seagrass

    Max Size:30 cm TL

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