Aluterus scriptus

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Aluterus scriptus
Scrawled Filefish.jpg
Anacanthus scriptus Achilles 176.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Family: Monacanthidae
Genus: Aluterus
Species: A. scriptus
Binomial name
Aluterus scriptus
(Osbeck, 1765)

Aluterus scriptus, commonly known as scrawled filefish, broomtail filefish or scribbled leatherjacket, is a marine fish belonging to the family Monacanthidae.


This species has a circumtropical repartition, it can be found in the tropical waters from the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.[2]


This filefish can be observed in lagoons, coral and rocky reefs, seaweed fields, pinnacles, wrecks and also in open water.[2]


Artist representation of A. scriptus

Aluterus scriptus is a medium size fish which can grow up to 110 cm (3.6 ft) in length.[3] The body shape looks like an elongated oval, strongly compressed. Its background body coloration is olive-brown or grey depending on its surrounding environment, irregular blue lines and spots are distributed on the body mixed with some black spots mainly on the head. The colors may quickly vary depending on background similarly to an octopus. Fish observed in the Virgin Islands might lie flat on the sand and become pure white or change to any of the other representative colors. The mouth is small and at the end of its pointed snout. Like all the Tetraodontiformes, it has no pelvic fin but has two particular dorsal spines; the first anterior one is long, slender and erectile, located just over the eyes, the second is small and not easy to see but it locks the first one when it is erected.[3] The rounded caudal fin is quite long and can be displayed as a fan.

The juveniles have a yellow with black spots body coloration.[4]


Aluterus scriptus is omnivorous and have a large choice for its meals like small crustaceans, algae, gorgonians, sea anemones, tunicates, fire coral...[3]


Aluterus scriptus is diurnal and is demersal. It is solitary and shy with divers and is rarely seen with others



  1. ^ Matsuura, K., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. (2015). Aluterus scriptus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T190125A16510872.en
  2. ^ a b Aluterus scriptus, Scribbled leatherjacket filefish : gamefish, aquarium. (2016-07-20). Retrieved on 2016-11-10.
  3. ^ a b c Descriptions and articles about the Scrawled Filefish (Aluterus scriptus) – Encyclopedia of Life. (2007-09-24). Retrieved on 2016-11-10.
  4. ^ (in French) DORIS – FFESSM – Biologie et plongée – Faune et flore sous-marines et dulcicoles. Retrieved on 2016-11-10.

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