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  Common names: filefish (English), leatherjacket (English), lija (Espanol)
Aluterus scriptus (Osbeck, 1765)

Scrawled filefish,     Scrawled leatherjacket

Body a very compressed elongated oval a long pointed snout, upper and lower profiles strongly concave; a small mouth that  opens above center line; teeth moderately strong, six in outer row on top jaw and six or less on outer row on bottom jaw;  gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; II dorsal spines, 1st  long and slender, over eye, erectile, can be locked in position by small 2nd  spine; dorsal II, 43-49; anal 43-49; pectoral 13-15; median fins rays unbranched;  tail fin longer than snout, rounded, the back edge often ragged; tail base shorter than deep; scales minute, innumerable, equipped with small hairs, cover skin and give it a coarse texture like sand-paper; pelvic fins absent, no scales encasing area where pelvics should be; no patch of enlarged scales above pectoral base; lateral line inconspicuous.

Olive brown to grey with irregular blue spots and short lines and small black spots; pelagic juveniles  may be brown with dark spots.

Size: grows to 110 cm.

Inhabits coral and rocky reefs, the young are sometimes seen around floating debris, at a considerable distance away from land; feeds on algae, hydrozoans, gorgonians, anemones, and tunicates.

Depth: 0-120 m.

Circumtropical distribution; southern Baja and the mouth of the Gulf of California to Ecuador, and all the oceanic islands.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system.

Source: Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Online Information System

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