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Aluterus Scriptus



Lagoons, Seaward Reefs

2 - 6 pounds

22" - 43"

Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish Game Fish Quality Excellent
Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish Meal Quality Decent

Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish

Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish
Also Known As: Broomtail Filefish, Scrawlled Filefish, Loulu (Hawaiian) 

Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish (Aluterus Scriptus) Description

The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish appears to be predominantly olive-brown in color. Though, it depends on their surrounding environment. It has an elongated body, kind of reminding you like those sundae cup spoons in terms of shape. Their tailfins appear to be dark gold (again, dependent on the lighting) and completely rounded, creating that spoon-like illusion. Their bodies are covered with different markings. The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish has some stripes that may appear in a sky-blue color and jet-black dots.

Like all members of its suborder, the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish appear to not have pelvic fins. Instead, they have two dorsal spines that help them balance throughout the water. However, the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish’s second dorsal fin only pops out when the first particular spine (the one that looks like an antenna) stiffens up.


Diet and Size

The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish has a tiny mouth that is attached to its long snout. Using its long snout, it’ll dig through either corals and sand to find food that works well with its omnivorous diet. Some of its favorite foods include crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps. A Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish also feeds on tunicates, creatures that look like corals and are usually stuck to the seafloor. They also feed on sea anemones and algae. Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefishes also eat soft sea corals.

A Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish grows between 22 inches to 30 inches. The biggest Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish was around 43 inches long. Male and female Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefishes don’t seem to have a size difference. Its average weight appears to be 5.5 lbs.


Interesting Facts about the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish 

  • Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefishes are impossible to keep in captivity.
  • These fish are very sensitive to pH changes.
  • The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish is a shy fish. They’re normally alone or in a pair. But never in a group.
  • The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish has the ability to camouflage itself in its surroundings.
  • Because they’re so shy, the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish cannot live with other species. If they are with other species, they will either run away or end up starving.
  • Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefishes are seen as aesthetically pleasing, making Ocean Parks keep them in public tanks.
    • They haven’t been seen in private tanks yet.
  • They are known not to be confrontational. Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish usually bury themselves in the sand after turning themselves to match the substrate to hide from other fish.


Fishing Techniques: How to catch a Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish 

Catching a Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish (or the Scrawled Filefish) is going to test your patience. To catch a Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish, you’ll need a small hook. At least a size 10 will do; using any bigger hooks will make you lose the fish among the waves. One of the few reasons why you need a small hook is because its mouth is so small. Its small mouth makes it easier for it to take the meat off the bones. But while doing so, the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish appears to backpedal as it eats. Yes, it swims in reverse! You have to wait for that moment for it to bite so you can immediately set your hook. Don’t give it a chance to backpedal.

As for the bait, make sure you put a small piece only. For a Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish, they’re going to prefer squid. But don’t put such a big squid! Since they backpedal while eating, they’ll pull off the bait from your hook and leave you with nothing but an empty hook! Cut the squid into small pieces with the barb slightly sticking out so you can still set your hook into the Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish.

For the line, a 50-lbs cast with a braided line will do the trick. It’ll help you pull that fish out should its spine stick out and wedge itself somewhere. As much as possible, lure it out of the crevice to make sure that its spine doesn’t just wedge itself among the rocks.


Habitat and Distribution

Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefishes love warm waters and stay in tropical areas. However, they are somewhat demersal and stay in the somewhat deeper parts of the water. They stay in waters that are around 10 to 394 feet, usually staying in either lagoons or seaward reefs. 

They sometimes hide in crevices where their other dorsal spine comes into play. At night, they’ll hide in the crevice so that their spine will activate. The Scribbled Leatherjacket Filefish’s spine will spring up and lodge itself in the crevice, giving anglers intense difficulty in yanking them out.