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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Monacanthidae
Bearded filefish
Anacanthus barbatus

Family Monacanthidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This long filefish with a 'beard' was seen on Cyrene Reef during a seine net survey of the fishes there. Elsewhere it is found in shallow waters in sandy, weedy areas, also muddy estuaries and mangroves. It is said to be seen lining up with ropes, seawhips, large stringy-type sponges, as well as mangrove roots. It may also float over the open bottom and may stand on its head. In this way, it may mimic mangrove propagules, sea pens and probably seagrass.

Features: To 35cm. Highly elongated fish with a long body flattened sideways, and a long tail fin. It has an upturned mouth and a barbel under its chin that it can straighten out so that the fish looks like a pointed stick.

Cyrene Reef, May 08

Like other filefishes,
it has a flap under the body.

Tanah Merah, Sep 11
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Barbel under the chin
that can be straightened out.

Tiny uptuned mouth.

Bearded filefish on Singapore shores

Photos of Bearded filefish for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Tan Heok Hui and Lee Bee Yan. 31 October 2014. Bearded leatherjacket from Changi. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2014: 290
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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