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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: filefish (English), leatherjacket (English), lija (Espanol)
 
Aluterus monoceros (Linnaeus, 1758)


Unicorn filefish,     Unicorn leatherjacket


Body a very compressed elongated oval a long pointed snout, snout profiles of adult - upper convex, lower concave; a small mouth that  opens above center line; teeth moderately strong, six in outer row on top jaw and six or less on outer row on bottom jaw;  gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; II dorsal spines, 1st  long and slender, over eye, erectile, can be locked in position by small 2nd  spine; dorsal II, 45-51; anal 47-53; pectoral 14; median fins rays unbranched;  tail fin usually shorter than snout, with straight to slightly concave edge; tail base longer than deep; scales minute, innumerable, equipped with small hairs, cover skin and give it a coarse texture like sand-paper; pelvic fins absent, no scales encasing area where pelvics should be; no patch of enlarged scales above pectoral base; lateral line inconspicuous.


Pale grey to grey-brown; brown spots and blotches on upper side; dorsal and anal pale yellowish brown; tail membranes dark brown; juveniles & sometimes young adults  with network of pale lines enclosing darker spots and blotches.


Size: 76 cm.

Habitat: rocky habitat.

Depth: 0-50 m.

Circumtropical; southern Baja and the lower 1/3 of Gulf of California to Chile; the Revillagigedos, Cocos and Malpelo.   
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Biology

Occasionally in shallow water by steep drop-offs. Solitary or in pairs, occasionally in groups of five or six, at less than 10 m depth. Juveniles are pelagic, seen under floating objects (Ref. 9318, 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Adults and juveniles are rarely seen near reefs. Juveniles often with large jellies and these may bring them close to reefs and adults may nest on sandflats adjacent to reefs in deep water. At other times, the adults may form large schools under weed-rafts that usually form during the wet season (Ref. 48637). Feed on benthic organisms (Ref. 30573).
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Distribution

Western Atlantic: Massachusetts, USA to Argentina
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East), East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West), Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America), East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo), South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
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Circumtropical. Western Atlantic: Massachusetts, USA to Argentina (Ref. 36453). Eastern Atlantic: west coast of tropical Africa (Ref. 3592). Eastern Pacific: Guatemala to Chile (Ref. 9068); probably in Mexico (Ref. 9318). Western Indian Ocean: Mozambique and South Africa (Ref. 4421). Recently recorded from Reunion (Ref. 53568).
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Circumglobal in tropical and subtropical seas (including Red Sea, Seychelles, western Mascarenes, Hawaiian Islands).
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (S) - 50 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 45 - 52; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 47 - 53
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Size

Length max (cm): 76.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 762 mm TL
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Max. size

76.2 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340)); max. published weight: 2,710 g (Ref. 40637)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Inhabits reefs (Ref. 9318). Occasionally in shallow waters by steep drop-offs. Usually observed either singly or in pairs, occasionally in groups of five or six, at less than 10 m depth. Juveniles are pelagic, seen under floating objects (Ref. 9318).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Rudimentary pelvic spine disappears in large specimen (Ref. 36453). Snout convex in adults (Ref. 1602). Sandy to grey with small brown spots above; soft dorsal and anal fins pale yellowish to brownish; caudal membrane blackish brown (Ref. 4421).
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 1 - 50 m (Ref. 3592)
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Depth range based on 295 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 188 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 500
  Temperature range (°C): 9.224 - 27.406
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.164 - 19.896
  Salinity (PPS): 32.780 - 36.359
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.736 - 6.494
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.250
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 23.418

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 500

Temperature range (°C): 9.224 - 27.406

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.164 - 19.896

Salinity (PPS): 32.780 - 36.359

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.736 - 6.494

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.081 - 1.250

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 23.418
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 1 - 50m.
From 1 to 50 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated.
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Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Reef (rock &/or coral), Corals, Reef and soft bottom, Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom), Soft bottom (mud, sand,gravel, beach, estuary & mangrove), Flotsam

FishBase Habitat: Reef Associated
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Trophic Strategy

Occasionally in shallow water by steep drop-offs. Solitary or in pairs, occasionally in groups of five or six, at less than 10 m depth. Juveniles are pelagic, seen under floating objects (Ref. 9318, 48637). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Adults and juveniles are rarely seen near reefs. Juveniles are pelagic, seen under floating objects (Ref. 9318). Juveniles often with large jellies and these may bring them close to reefs and adults may nest on sandflats adjacent to reefs in deep water. At other times, the adults may form large schools under weed-rafts that usually form during the wet season (Ref. 48637). Feed on benthic organisms (Ref. 30573).
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Omnivore

Diet: benthic microalgae, sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa, soft corals/hydroids
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Benthic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Aluterus monoceros

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Aluterus monoceros

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.   Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.  Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

ACCCGTTGACTCTTTTCAACTAATCACAAAGACATCGGCACCCTTTATATGATTTTTGGTGCCTGAGCCGGAATAGTAGGCACTGCCTTA---AGCCTACTCATTCGAGCAGAACTAAGCCAGCCCGGCGCCCTTCTTGGGGAC---GACCAGATTTATAATGTAATCGTAACAGCCCACGCCTTCGTAATGATTTTCTTTATAGTAATGCCAATCATAATTGGGGGCTTTGGAAACTGACTTATCCCTCTAATA---ATTGGAGCCCCGGATATGGCATTCCCCCGAATAAATAATATGAGCTTCTGACTACTTCCTCCCTCCTTCCTTCTACTTCTTGCCTCTTCAGGGGTTGAAGCTGGGGCCGGGACGGGATGAACTGTCTACCCTCCTCTGGCAGGTAACCTTGCCCATGCAGGGGCATCTGTAGACCTA---ACAATTTTTTCTCTGCACTTAGCAGGAATCTCCTCAATTTTAGGTGCAATCAACTTTATTACGACGATTATTAACATGAAACCCCCTGCCATCTCCCAATACCAAACTCCGTTATTTGTGTGGGCGGTTCTAATTACAGCCGTCCTTCTTCTTCTCTCACTGCCAGTTCTTGCTGCT---GGCATTACTATGCTTCTAACTGACCGGAACCTCAACACCACCTTCTTCGACCCCGCTGGGGGAGGAGACCCAATTTTATACCAACACCTATTTTGGTTCTTCGGGCACCCCGAAGTATATATTTTAATTCTCCCGGGATTCGGGATGATCTCCCACATTGTCGCCTACTATTCAGGCAAAAAA---GAACCTTTCGGCTACATGGGCATGGTATGAGCAATAATGGCAATTGGCCTCCTCGGCTTCATCGTCTGAGCCCATCACATGTTCACAGTAGGAATGGACGTTGATACACGGGCCTATTTTACTTCCGCCACTATAATTATCGCCATCCCAACAGGCGTGAAAGTGTTTAGCTGACTC---GCCACA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial
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Wikipedia

Unicorn leatherjacket

The unicorn leatherjacket, Aluterus monoceros, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae, found around the world in subtropical oceans between latitudes 43° N and 35° S, at depths down to 50 m. Its length is up to 76 cm.

References[edit]

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