- Common Name
- scrawled filefish
- Genus Species
- Aluterus scriptus
- Olive-brown to pale gray body with irregular blue lines and black dots distributed over entire surface. Body is laterally flattened and elongate. Snout ends in a pronounced tube-like mouth. Dorsal and anal fins undulate to provide primary locomotion. Solid (rounded) caudal fin is broom-like in appearance. Caudal fin is often observed limp.
- 30.5 to 76.2 cm (1 to 2.5 ft) avg; 110 cm (3.6 ft) max
- 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs.)
- Algae, seagrass, hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, and tunicates
- Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia to Gulf of Mexico and Brazil
Eastern Atlantic: St. Paul's Rocks, Cape Verde and Ascension Island to South Africa
Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Colombia
Western Indo-Pacific: Australia to Red Sea
- 4 to 120 meters (13 to 394 ft) in tropical & sub-tropical marine coastal waters
- Global: No data
- IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed
- 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.
- The primary dorsal spine can be made to stand erect. Such a posture is utilized by several members of the superfamily Balistoidea to lock themselves into a crevice or crack within a reef system – thus making predatory extraction difficult.
- For more information about bony fishes, explore the Bony Fishes InfoBook.
Ecology and Conservation
Bond, Carl E. Biology of Fishes - Second Edition. Saunders College Publishing, 1996.
Humann, Paul. Reef Fish Identification - Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc., 1992.