Dampier Archipelago (20°28'S) to Rob Roy Reef (14°25'S), WA, also Rowley Shoals (17°20'S) and Scott Reef (14°03'S), WA, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea (12°15'S) and northern Great Barrier Reef (12° to 14°S), QLD; tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific.
Timor Province (2), Cape Province (20), Northwest Shelf Transition (26), Northwest Shelf Province (27), Northwest Transition (3), Northeast Shelf Transition (41)
Body moderately deep. Dorsal profile of head moderately sloped; preorbital bone usually about equal to eye diameter or slightly narrower; preopercular notch and knob poorly developed; vomerine tooth patch crescentic, without a medial posterior extension; tongue with a patch of granular teeth; gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch (including rudiments) 8 to 10, total rakers on first gill arch 14 to 16. Dorsal fin with X spines and 13 or 14 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 8 or 9 rays; posterior profile of dorsal and anal fins rounded; with 16 or 17 rays; caudal fin emarginate. Scale rows on back rising obliquely above lateral line. Generally pink to whitish, with a silvery sheen on breast and side of head. Trunk with a "checker-board" pattern on upper half of sides; lower half of sides with 2 dark brown stripes; a large black spot covering most of caudal fin base.
Inhabits both inshore and offshore coral reefs where it occurs singly or in schools. Small juveniles on shallow protected reef flats and used in the aquarium trade.
Distributed in Indo-West Pacific from southern India and Sri Lanka to New Guinea, north to the Ryukyu Islands. It is mainly found in southern Taiwanese waters.