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Aluterus (Aluteres) scriptus

Osbeck, 1765

Scribbled Leatherjacket


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Latin name : Aluterus (Aluteres) scriptus (Osbeck, 1765)
Synonyms : Alutera scripta
Classification : Monacanthidae ( Leatherjacket fishes )
Name : Poisson-lime gribouillé
Poisson bourse robe de cuir
Bourse écriture
Name : Scribbled Leatherjacket
Main identification characters
The Scribbled Leatherjacket has an elongate, compressed body. The long snout has a concave profile, both above and below. The mouth is small and upturned. The caudal fin is large and rounded. The body vary from pale gray to dark olive-brown, with blue irregular lines, and blue and black spots.

First dorsal fin spine slender and without prominent barbs, second spine minute and not easily seen externally. 43–49 dorsal fin rays; 46–52 anal fin rays. Caudal fin rounded, very long. TL to 3’ (91 cm). It grows to a total length of 1m (information on total length vs standard length).

Adults live on coastal reefs in waters 20m or more in depth. Juveniles, such as that in the images, are pelagic. They often swim in a vertical, head-down position with drifting vegetation, which they presumably mimic.
Possible confusions
Dotterel Filefish (A. heudeloti) has 36–41 dorsal rays, 39–44 anal rays, relatively short first dorsal spine with large barbs, and bluish-purple spots on body; known from both sides of Atlantic, it is rare in our area.

Orange Filefish (A. schoepfi) has 32–40 dorsal rays, 35–41 anal rays, and brown to gray body with scattered small orange spots; it lives from Nova Scotia to Florida, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean to Brazil.

Unicorn Filefish (A. monoceros) has gray or dark brown body with scattered small black spots, head concave below chin and followed by prominent convex ridge, 46–50 dorsal rays, and 47–52 anal rays; it occurs worldwide in warm and temperate seas but is rare in caribbean area.
It eats a range of foods including algae, seagrasses, certain soft corals and anemones.
Cycle of life / Reproduction
Data exist in different language. Feel free to update this datasheet and translate the data :
Les petits juvéniles sont jaunes avec des points noirs et développent des motifs bleus pendent la croissance. Les juvéniles sont pélagiques jusqu'à une grande taille, formant des bancs et s'associant aux végétaux flotants.
Interaction with other species
Feel free to update this datasheet and complete this data.

Open waters and around reefs.
Geographical distribution
The Scribbled Leatherjacket is found in tropical marine waters worldwide : Circumtropical (Bermuda, Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Brazil, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean, including Antilles, Red Sea etc.)

In Australia it is recorded from the southwestern coast of Western Australia, around the north of the country and south to southern New South Wales. Two species of Aluterus occur in Australian waters. The second is the Unicorn Leatherjacket Aluterus monoceros (Linnaeus, 1758).
Websites :
http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesSH.asp?curGroupID=3&shape [...]

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Découvrir la mer des Cara?bes et l'Atlantique tropical
Steven Weinberg
Nathan, 2000
Découvrir la mer Rouge et l'océan Indien
Steven Weinberg
Editions Nathan 1996, 1997
Guide du récif corallien de Mer Rouge
Helmut Debelius
PLB Editions, 1998
Reef fish identification - Florida Caribbean - Bahamas
Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach
New World Puplications, 1989 1994
Snorkeling guide to marine life - Florida Caribbean - Bahamas
Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach
New World Puplications, 1995
Data sheet written by Christophe Naslain , 19/06/2002

Updates :
Christophe Naslain - 05/11/2003

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