Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, from Malaysia and Indonesia to Samoa, north to southern Japan, south Australia. In Australia recorded from around Perth in Western Australia, across the tropical north, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland south to eastern Victoria.
Frequents estuaries and bays, seagrass and algae habitats, muddy and silty bottoms. Depth to 50 m.
Deep bodied with upturned snout and large ventral flap that may be raised or lowered as a flag for communication. Colour variable, often with dark brown mosaic pattern on lighter background. Feeds extensively on small invertebrates, seagrass and algae. Grows to 40 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p. 453.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=fanbelly+leatherjacket. Accessed 15/12/2019.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Monacanthus-chinensis.html. Accessed 15/12/2019.