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    Fan-belly Leatherjacket

    May 23, 2011 1 min read

    One of my all time favourite little fish to Dive with is the Fan-belly Leatherjacket (Monacanthus chinensis).

    They are generally white to cream bodied and covered with dark brown blotches all over. The cheek area and all fins are tinged in green with the caudal fin displaying three dark brown vertical bars. This particular species is one of the smallest species in the Monacanthus genus with a maximum size of ~40cm.

    Not only are they a beautiful fish, they are very curious. I first found this out when I picked up a bit of coral that had been snapped off a near-by rock only to be surrounded by 3 or 4 of these leatherjackets thinking I had food. Besides divers fingers, Fan-belly Leatherjackets feed on algae, seagrass, amphipods, shrimps, hydroids and copepods to name a few.

    These guys can usually be found along coastal reefs and estuaries (ie. The Seaway), they take shelter in rocky or weedy areas.

    I strongly suggest if you happen upon one of these guys on your next dive, stop to take a closer look as not only are they aesthetically appealing they are pretty happy to interact - if you fool them with fake food :)