Dampier Archipelago (20°28'S), Rowley Shoals (17°20'S), and Scott Reef (14°03'S), WA, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea (12°15'S), Asmore Reef (10°09'S, 144°35'E) and Osprey Reef (13°54'S, 146°33'E), Coral Sea, northern Great Barrier Reef (12°00'S) to Moreton Bay, QLD and Sydney, NSW; tropical, east-Indo-west-central Pacific.
Timor Province (2), Cocos (Keeling) Island Province (22), Christmas Island Province (23), Northwest Shelf Transition (26), Northwest Transition (3), Central Eastern Shelf Province (38), Northeast Shelf Province (40), Northeast Shelf Transition (41)
Coral Sea Islands Territory, Territory of Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Body oval, deep, strongly compressed. Head length roughly equal to head height; preopercle smooth, without prominent spines. Snout short. Small protractile mouth with brush-like teeth in the jaws. Dorsal fin with XI or XII spines, fourth dorsal spine prolonged, the membrane broadly expanded; and 21 or 22 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 17 or 18 soft rays; pectoral fins transparent with 16 soft rays; pelvic fins with I stout spine and 5 branched rays; caudal fin rounded to slightly emarginate. Body white with three oblique broad dark brown bands, the first running from the top of the head through the eye to the abdomen, the second from the fourth dorsal spine to the posterior of the anal fin, and the third on the back and the adjacent dorsal fin; snout tip yellow. Juveniles have a longer, narrower "pennant" than adults as well as a double ocellus in the black portion of the anal fin.
Common in coral-rich areas of subtidal reef flats and lagoon and seaward reefs at depths of 2 to 20 m. Juveniles solitary and usually found in estuaries and lagoons; adults usually in pairs. Feeds mainly on coral polyps.
Widely distributed in Indo-Pacific from Western India to Pitcairn Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Rowley Shoals, southern Queensland, and New Caledonia; throughout Micronesia. It is found in eastern and southern Taiwanese waters.
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