Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes
(Puffers and filefishes) > Monacanthidae
Etymology: Aluterus: Greek, a = without, privative + Latin, lutarius, -a, -um = that lives in the mud (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 50 m (Ref. 3592). Subtropical; 43°N - 35°S
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 76.2 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); common length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3467); max. published weight: 2.7 kg (Ref. 40637)
soft rays: 47 - 53. 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).
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).
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).
Harmelin-Vivien, M.L. and J.-C. Quéro, 1990. Monacanthidae. p. 1061-1066. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30911)
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5312 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00000 (0.00000 - 0.00000), b=0.00 (0.00 - 0.00), based on (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.5 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (63 of 100) .