Aluterus scriptus Osbeck, 1765, China Sea.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Robe de cuir; German: Schrift-Feilenfisch; Afrikaans: Bekrapte leerbaadjie; Japanese: Sфshihagi.
Body compressed, elongate, and somewhat rhomboid, with a concave snout and a relatively large and rounded caudal fin. There are two spines and 43–50 soft rays in the dorsal fin and 46–52 soft rays in the anal fin. The color is olive-brown to gray or tan with blue lines and spots in adults and yellowish brown with black spots in juveniles. Grows to more than 43.3 in (110 cm) in total length.
Tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters worldwide. In the Indo-Pacific from South Africa east to the Gulf of California and Colombia. In the Atlantic from Nova Scotia south to Brazil in the west and at Saint Paul’s Rocks, Cape Verde, Ascension Island, and Sгo Tomй Island in the east.
Found on seaward or lagoon coral reefs, rocky reefs, sea grass beds, and algae beds. Occasionally shelters under floating trees or other objects. Depth range is 13–394 ft (4–120 m).
A solitary species that, despite its relatively large size, often moves cryptically within or between habitats.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Omnivorous. Feeds on hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, tunicates, sea grass, or algae.
Not well known but probably lays demersal eggs. The larvae are pelagic and well equipped for a long pelagic existence, thus explaining this species’ remarkable pattern of geographical
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Collected for the aquarium trade. Also a game fish at some localities. Taken for subsistence elsewhere. This species has been reported to cause ciguatera poisoning.
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