General Description

Body elongate and compressed, with two to four pairs of curved spines on each side of tail base in adults, larger in males. Two dorsal fins, first with two spines, with the hind edge of the front spine serrated. Males bluish with fine blue lines and spots on the head and along the bases of the dorsal and anal fins; often a large yellow or orange patch, or indistinct yellowy blotches on the sides. Females and juveniles usually pale greenish, yellow or brown, with blue lines and spots on the head and several broad dark stripes along the body. Usually 30 cm long head to tail tip (up to 55 cm).


Sixspine Leatherjackets feed on bottom-dwelling (benthic) invertebrates, including molluscs, worms and crustaceans but they also eat some algae. Males and females have different colour patterns. The colour pattern is also highly variable across the species' range.


Eastern, southern and western Australia, including Tasmania.


Adults are found on shallow to deep reefs in bays, harbours and along the coast in depths to 45 m. Juveniles prefer sheltered areas, especially seagrass beds.

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