Rowley Shoals (17°20'S) and Scott Reef (14°03'S), WA, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea (12°15'S) and Raine Island, QLD (11°36'S) to Sydney, NSW (33°53'S), also Ashmore Reef (10°09'S) and Osprey Reef (13°54'S), Coral Sea and Christmas Island; tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Northeast Transition (19), Timor Province (2), Cape Province (20), Christmas Island Province (23), Northwest Transition (3), Central Eastern Shelf Province (38), Central Eastern Shelf Transition (39), Northeast Shelf Province (40), Northeast Shelf Transition (41)
Coral Sea Islands Territory, Territory of Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Body moderately elongate, and strongly compressed. Preorbital bone convex and without strong spines. 1 prominent spines at angle of preopercle. Ventral edge of interopercle smooth. Eye moderately small. Mouth small, terminal, protractile, gape not extending to anterior rim or orbit. Dorsal fin with XIV spines and 17 or 18 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 17-18 soft rays; caudal fin rounded. Body with alternating dark-edged bluish white and orange stripes which narrow and angle backward in dorsal fin; posterior portion of dorsal fin black with close-set blue dots; posterior portion of anal fin with alternating yellow and blue bands running parallel to body contour; caudal fin yellow. Juveniles with a large ocellated dark spot on basal portion of the soft dorsal fin.
Occurs in coral rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs to a depth of 48 m or more. Often found in the vicinity of caves and feeds on sponges and tunicates. Solitary or in pairs, or in groups.
Distributed from the Red Sea throughout the Indian Ocean, eastward across the southern Pacific Ocean to the Tuamotu Archipelago, northward to the Ryukyu Islands. Widely around coral reefs in Taiwan.
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