Aluterus scriptus (Osbeck, 1765)
Aluterus scriptus (Osbeck, 1765)
Genus: ,

Scientific Name: Aluterus scriptus

English Name: Scribbled leatherjacket filefish

Creole Name: Bours/Lisyen katounou

French Name: Bourse écriture

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 2; Dorsal rays: 43-50; Anal spines: 0; Anal rays: 46-52.

Body elongate and laterally compressed with very large, rounded caudal fin with a black edge which is often ragged. Long snout with concave profile. Small 
upturned terminal mouth. Gill opening oblique, pelvic fin absent.

Body greyish, brownish or greenish-brown covered in dark spots and electric blue spots and lines, often with a dark blotch on the sides. Juveniles may be 
yellowish brown with dark spots.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 110 cm TL. Commonly to 55 cm TL.


Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits lagoon and seaward reefs (depth 3-120 m, usually 3-20 m). Individuals are occasionally seen under floating objects. Juveniles may travel with 
weed rafts in the open ocean for a long period. Juvenile scrawled filefish often swim in a vertical, head-down position when associated with drifting 
vegetation to avoid being detected by potential predators. Adults are usually seen along deep coastal slopes or outer reef drop-offs in about 20 m depth.

Feed on algae, seagrass, hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, and tunicates. Generally solitary. Breeds in groups consisting of a male and 2-5 
females. Females lay demersal eggs in safe areas such as a depression in the sand, then the male fertilizes them. Adults guard the eggs and the female 
takes care of the young fish after hatching.

When threatened, the filefish will dive quickly into a reef crevice, wedging itself into the shelter by erecting the dorsal spine on its head and its 
ventral spine. This behaviour is also used when resting on the reef at night.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is rarely caught in the fish trap fishery.





Bester, C. Aluterus scriptus, Scrawled filefish. Florida Museum. (09/02/20).
Bray, D.J. Aluterus scriptus in Fishes of Australia, (09/02/20).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2020). FishBase. (09/02/20).
Matsuura, K. et al. (2015). Aluterus scriptus (errata version 2017). The IUCN Red List 2015: (09/02/20).


Nevill, J.E.G. (2020). Aluterus scriptus, Scribbled leatherjacket filefish. Seychelles Seatizens. (edited 04/09/22)

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