Abundant throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Southwest Pacific region: from central Queensland south to New Zealand and Kermadec Islands. In Australia known from the Capricorn group and Swains Reef in the Great Barrier Reef south to Batemans Bay in New South Wales, and including Lord Howe Island.
Frequents coastal bays and rocky estuaries, offshore shallow reef areas. Usually in shallow water, feeds on benthic algae. Depth to 20 m.
Dusky brown colouration with yellow spots along the dorsal surface forming vertical stripes along the mid line, and row of three dark spines on tail base. Often forms large schools with Australian Sawtail, Prionurus microlepidotus which is plain coloured and has 5 - 7 spines on tail base. Feeds on benthic algae. Grows to 45 cm.
R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.436.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Prionurus+maculatus. Accessed 02/07/18.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Prionurus-maculatus.html. Accessed 02/07/18.