This species of leatherjacket has been aptly named for the yellow patch in front of the tail bearing four bright yellow spines. These spines play an important role during the mating season, where the males will hit and slash other males in competition for females. The bright blue and yellow colouration of the male spiny-tailed leatherjacket makes them easy to recognise, females and juveniles are slightly duller.
The Spiny-tailed Leatherjacket occurs in abundance over seagrass beds and on coastal reefs to a depth of 25 metres, with females greatly out numbering males. They occur from Rottnest Island, WA to Kangaroo Island, SA and grow to a maximum size of 46 centimetres.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
The Spiny-tailed Leatherjacket is a relatively common sight from the Underwater Observatory windows. Easily identified by its club of several large spines near the base of their tail, it is the male of this species which is often noticed because of its large size and bright colouring.