The toothbrush leatherjacket is widespread throughout Australia’s southern waters, from Dongara, WA to Coffs Harbour, NSW. After hatching, the juveniles of this species drift with the ocean currents under floating masses of Sargassum plants, before settling on suitable habitat, primarily seagrass beds. Here the juveniles will school, often alongside the bridled leatherjacket, and move onto moderately exposed mixed algae and invertebrate-rich reefs as adults. Adults can also be found in sponge gardens.
As with most leatherjacket species there is a great difference in appearance between males and females. Colours can be highly variable, but generally the male is brightly coloured with a black head, yellow patch, a white streak from the eye down the body and irridescent blue stripes and spots. Alternatively the females have a mottled green to browm colouration with a pattern of lines and spots covering the head and body. Leatherjackets can be characterised by a set of spines at the rear of the body, in the toothbrush leatherjacket, these have been replaced by a set of bristles on each side of the body, present only in the male of the species. the toothbrush leatherjacket grow to a maximum length of 32 centimetres.
Other common names include: Brown leatherjacket.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
The toothbrush leatherjacket is seen infrequently in the waters surrounding the underwater observatory.