Bearded Leatherjacket, Anacanthus barbatus Gray 1830

Other Names: Barbeled Leatherjacket, Barbelled Leatherjacket, Bearded Filefish, Beardie, Jumping Leatherjacket, Longsnout Filefish, Ribbon Leatherjacket, Tapefish, Tape-fish

A Bearded Leatherjacket, Anacanthus barbatus, at Samal, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Philippines. Source: Blogie Robillo / iNaturalist. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

An extremely long, slender leatherjacket with a long chin barbel, a long caudal fin and an inconspicuous dorsal-fin spine. This well camouflaged leatherjacket often shelters alongside sea pens, sea whips, mangrove roots, elongate sponges, ropes and floating mangrove shoots.
Video of this strange leatherjacket at Koh Tao Island, Thailand.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Anacanthus barbatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Sep 2020,

Bearded Leatherjacket, Anacanthus barbatus Gray 1830

More Info


Port Denison and the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia (with a single record from Albany in the south), around northern Australia to the Coolongolook River, Wallis Lake, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific, from western India, eastwards to the Philippines, and south to northern Australia.

Inhabits sandy, weedy, muddy and mangroves areas on coastal reefs, bays and estuaries. The Bearded Leatherjacket is well-camouflaged species lines up against seawhips, mangrove roots, sponges and even ropes.


Dorsal fin I + 48-50, fin spine weak and inconspicuous, situated above middle of pectoral fin; anal fin 58-62; pectoral fin 8-10.


May be taken as bycatch in commercial trawl and seine fisheries.

Species Citation

Anacanthus barbatus Gray 1830, Illustrations of Indian Zoology 1: pl. 84, fig. 2. Type locality: Singapore.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Bearded Leatherjacket, Anacanthus barbatus Gray 1830


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.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

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

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Gray, J.E. 1830. Illustrations of Indian Zoology of new and hitherto unfigured Indian Animals from the Collection of General Hardwicke. London Vol. 1

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

Hutchins, J.B., 2001 Monacanthidae. Filefishes (leatherjackets). in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218. 

Hutchins, B. 2010. Anacanthus barbatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154935A4671918. . Downloaded on 20 September 2015.

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2):709-762.

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) 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

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

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37465010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-8 m

Habitat:Estuaries, bays, reefs

Max Size:30 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map