Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Indo-Pacific distribution generally, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia and the Great Barrier Reef. In Australia recorded from Exmouth in Western Australia north through Ashmore Reef and the Timor Sea, in north Queensland through the Great Barrier Reef south to northern New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents steep slopes around offshore rocky and coral reefs, depth to at least 100m.
Yellow mask over eyes, blue scribbles on a pale body which may turn dark brown rapidly. Brown phase distinguished from Acanthurus dussumieri by the dark tail base spine. Adults often seen in schools, juveniles in estuaries or inshore turbid waters. Feeds in mid water on plankton, grows to 50cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.425.