Relatively common throughout Solitary Islands Marine Park. Widespread tropical Indo-Pacific. In Australia recorded from northern Western Australia across the tropical north to Queensland and south to Sydney in New South Wales. Also at Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
Schooling species often with other surgeon fish species. Frequents rocky reefs, estuary entrances and offshore islands and reefs. Juveniles common in inshore reefs and estuaries. Recorded from depths of up to 130m.
Usually seen singly or in small aggregations, juveniles often with other surgeon fish species. Grazes algae on rocks or sand. Distinguished from other similar surgeonfish species by the yellow dorsal fin with blue line at base, yellow band between and behind eyes and large, white, moveable spine which folds into groove on each side of caudal peduncle. Grows to 54cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.423.