Aluterus scriptus is a medium size fish which can grow up to 110 cm (3.6 ft) in length. 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. The rounded caudal fin is quite long and can be displayed as a fan. The juveniles have a yellow with black spots body coloration.
Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish's facts
Did you know?
The first dorsal spine of the scrawled filefish exhibits small notches along its length, resembling a file in appearance. This dorsal spine, then, contributes to the species common name.
Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish habitat
The species inhabits lagoon and seaward reefs, and individuals are occasionally seen under floating objects. Juveniles may travel with weed rafts in the open ocean for a long period. Adults are usually seen along deep coastal slopes or outer reef drop-offs in about 20 m depth. It feeds on algae, seagrass, hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, and tunicates. It is generally a solitary species.
Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish threats
There are no known major threats that are likely to affect the global population.