Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
The bridled leatherjacket is a rare visitor to the underwater observatory.
The bridled leatherjacket is one of the smallest Australian leatherjackets, growing to a maximum length of only 14 centimetres. Males and females differ quite dramatically in their colouration, with the males having a distinct curved black line running from the chin down the side of the body and many blue spots on the side of the body. Females and juveniles are easily confused with the toothbrush leatherjacket, particularly as the reside in the same seagrass habitat, they have a mottled brown to green appearance. Bridled leatherjacktes can be distinguished by the presence of numerous black spots on the sides of the body.
The bridled leatherjacket is endemic to Australia, their range occurring from Fremantle, WA to Sydney, NSW. They are abundant in shallow coastal bays, in large open estuaries and among Sargassum and Cystophora plants on sheltered reefs. They are usually found in schools of mixed sexes or as a male and female pair. The bridled leatherjacket spends their first weeks of life floating in the open ocean as a larvae in the plankton before finding a suitable seagrass bed where they remain for life. They are herbivorous fish with truncated teeth which have been worn down and rounded from feeding on a variety of algae.
Other common names include Golden-eyed Leatherjacket and Small Brown Leatherjacket.