Meuschenia hippocrepis

Horseshoe leatherjacket
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, Adelaide, SA, Photo: Graham Edgar
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, Flinders Is, TAS, Photo: Andrew Green
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, Perth, WA, Photo: Tom Davis
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, Busselton, WA, Photo: Graham Edgar
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, Kangaroo Island, SA, Photo: Antonia Cooper
Meuschenia hippocrepisMeuschenia hippocrepis, juvenile, St Leonards, Vic, Photo: Andrew Green
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Meuschenia hippocrepis
Meuschenia hippocrepis
Meuschenia hippocrepis
Meuschenia hippocrepis
Meuschenia hippocrepis
Meuschenia hippocrepis


Temperate Australasia


Colourful species with blue, green, black and yellow markings on the head and body, and characteristic horseshoe-shaped marks on the sides. It often co-occurs on reefs with the yellowstriped leatherjacket in the east and the bluelined leatherjacket in the west. Horseshoe leatherjackets are inquisitive and regularly swim up to divers; however, if threatened they retreat into caves.

Juveniles may completely lack the dark markings - see photo. Confirm ID by shape, presence of skin filaments, location and presence of adults.


Max Size: 51 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 11.8-22.8°C

Depth: 3-18m

Habitat Generalization Index: 8.65

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Occurrence: Common (42.7% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Few (3 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: Andrew Green